Nugget Point/Roaring Bay/Pounawea
When it was time to say goodbye to our Dunedin friends, The Sutton Family, Gregory was begging to stay just one more night. We all felt the same way but we knew our time left in New Zealand was nearing an end and there was so much more to see. I love what Judy said to Gregory, “Good things come to an end so more good things can come along!” We promised to try to see them Easter weekend at their bach (“batch”) up in Twizel, gave them big hugs, and then headed south to The Catlins.
It was late in the afternoon when we finally reached Nugget Point and the 40-minute return hike out to the lighthouse. Though rain threatened we put on our rain jackets and headed out. It was only spitting now and again and we were soon warmed up enough that we peeled off the outerwear. The sea was amazingly calm and we stood on the cliffs watching the kelp dance along the rocky coastline. From the viewing platform at the lighthouse we could see seals playing in the rock pools that formed in the massive rocks that peaked up above the oceans surface. [I read that Nugget Point is the only place where New Zealand fur seals (kekeno), New Zealand sea lions (whakahao) and the southern elephant seal (ihupuku) co-exist.] Though we met with occasional sprinkles, the night was warm and we delighted in the fragrant scents we encountered as we made our way along the track back to the car park.
On our return to the main road we stopped at Roaring Bay to see if we could spy some more Yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho). Though we’d seen several at Oamaru we were eager to see one a bit closer. (This hide was closer to the beach and the penguin’s point of exit from the sea as well as the hillside where they have their burrows.) We sat up on the cliffs in the hide for quite some time and though others on the track reported seeing four penguins earlier, we only just saw one climbing in his burrow as we arrived.
A late arrival and rainy weather lead us to rent our second cabin on this trip. We camped at Pounawea with our cabin view overlooking the water. Our bunk bed had a double on the bottom (complete with linens) and Gregory had his own twin bunk up top. Their was a large group of teens running about the camp and the kitchen was packed so we got ourselves organized and then had a late dinner when things settled down a bit. As long as we were splurging for a cabin we decided to rent The Chronicles of Narnia ~ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to watch on our laptop. We’d recently been to Elephant Rocks on The Vanished World Fossil Trail, and in the film, Elephant Rocks is the site used for Aslan’s camp. We all snuggled together on the bottom bunk, on our bellies with hands on cheeks glued to the computer screen. It was fun to watch it together and try to pick out the specifics of where we’d just been. (For those of you who aren’t aware of it The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was filmed here in New Zealand as well. I understand that fans of the movies flock here and make their way to the many sites where the filming took place.)