26.04.2012 - 27.04.2012
...Queenie started!! We were so pleased – it was great to hear her engine roar as it does! Prior to Queenie’s engine starting we woke to an amazing sunrise with views right from the bed in our van – it was really beautiful.
We had some lovely porridge and tea and made our way towards Purakaunui Falls which, a little like Jack’s Blowhole, would perhaps have been more impressive after rainfall. however it was still a nice walk and the falls were good – although Joe felt left out that he hadn’t brought his camera tripod and huuuge camera so that he could lie on the cold rocks to get an amazing photo up the falls like the other tourists there. Then it was time to get Queenie sorted so we took her to the garage in Owaka where the staff were excellent at getting us sorted and spent a long time on the phone to our silly hire company persuading them to pay for various things to make Queenie roadworthy, muttering to us “...they should never have given it to you in this condition...” oh good!! We got a new tyre and a new bit for the battery...the old one was loose and had rattled out of place on our bumpy road...or something to that effect!
To explore the Catlins further we then drove to Tawanui to do a walk along the Catlins River – very pleasant and foresty and didn’t see a soul for miles around!
Our camp for the night was at Papatowai, also on the coast. We walked down to the sea which had a big inlet just down from the campsite – here the scenery was really cool with the forests reaching right onto the beach, really rugged cliffs all along. Joe had to be restrained from exploring the whole southern coast as the tide was coming in and we almost got cut off in the middle of nowhere but a small beach with huge seaweed trees – should be called seatrees really.
We made an effort to leave the campsite early (it appears to be taking us two hours from waking to leaving – we are not sure why...) and were packed up and on our way in only one hour! We drove along to Curio Bay by which the time the sunny days appear to be coming to an end and the weather turned to custard with our first raindrops since having Queenie. Curio Bay is famous for surf and dolphins, neither of which were present today but still an amazing beach. From here we continued all along the coastal Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill – which is a slightly depressing city with odd people....from our little experience of it! After using their internet facilities and shops we continued west to Orepuki, camping at Monkey Island Reserve.
We are right on the beach again and you can access Monkey Island at low tide apparently. It is raining very hard at the moment and the forecast isn’t great either...but nevermind! Queenie appears to be watertight! We are sitting with head torches on as we have almost run out of power but can’t bring ourselves to pay for a powered site just yet....especially as we are booked onto an overnight Doubtful Sound cruise trip for Sunday! So excited!