Today is Tuesday, Feb 14th and with our destination not that far distance-wise we decided to Get off the main road (such as it is) and instead travel closer to the water and explore the Catlins. Our first stop that day was Curio Bay, a beautiful spot where the fossilized remains of a Jurassic forest is laid bare at low tide on a rock shelf jutting out to sea. Yes, it was low tide and the fossilized tree trunks and other bits of interesting stuff was clearly visible.

Not out of the woods quite yet


The only thing was, the people who had descended the path onto this rock shelf were not examining the rocks, they were all turned with their backs to the stunning ocean views peering into the underbrush above the high hide mark.

Penguin watching


Huh? What was so interesting that they could turn their backs on such a marvel? The answer is penguins. Apparently the rarest of species, these Yellow-eyed penguins can only be found along this coast. While most of the colony were out a sea a few that were moulting remained on shore, much to the delight of the tourists. As nesting was beginning this area would be closed each evening so as the penguins could return to their nesting sites without having to strike poses for the visitors. This is the only time so far that I have regretted not bringing my zoom lense as the photos I have simply do not have the drama or excitement we felt seeing these odd creatures in a natural setting.

A shy, Yellow Eyed Penguin


From there we continued to twist and turn our way along the coast and decided to head for Nugget Point for our lunch. The day before we had bought three of Jimmie’s Pies. I will not disclose how many grams of fat each one of these little gems contained but we were told you cannot visit New Zealand without sampling the meat pies. We had three different varieties: mince, mutton & bacon and egg. But, back to Nugget Point, as it and not the pies was the highlight for lunch. There is a lighthouse perched high on a headland overlooking a series of pinnacle-like rocks marching out to sea. Far below the cliffs you could hear the seals barking. The path from the parking lot to lighthouse was not precarious however you would tumble to your death on the rocks far below should you lose your balance reaching to pluck a wildflower or some other romantic notion that came into your head.

Nugget Point Lighthouse


We all survived and while Kim & Julie made it all the way to the lighthouse I satisfied myself with glimpses of it before heading back to the campervan to contemplate the pies. I was not surprised to read that the New Zealand Medical Journal has blacklisted pies, along with 48 other foods that people should try to avoid unless they seek obesity. Having said this, I have to admit that Jimmie makes a mean pie.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 1:56 pm and is filed under New Zealand 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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