Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back from the Catlins

The Catlins is an astonishing place. It was much, much more engaging than I had expected. I thought it was a formidable land of wind-battered, difficult terrain, hard to explore for a city wimp like me. What I found was something much friendlier and more accessible: as well as stunning rocky shores pounded by great waves (we had only one day of this), we spent our time exploring lovely meandering estuaries and bays and doing short walks through bush and rainforest to thundering waterfalls and tranquil lakes.

Plus, of course, the wildlife. Jenn, my companion and guide, stood in the bush and whistled to bellbirds, brown creepers and fantails. We saw only one yellow-eyed penguin (they're moulting now, they sit on land and can't go out to sea until they've replaced their feathers), but the sealions swam, challenged each other and dragged themselves up into the dunes right in front of us. (I took this with the zoom - we were a very safe distance away.)

I soon felt entirely at ease, and I realised after a few days that this was the first proper leisurely, low-key New Zealand holiday, not staying in someone's home, that I'd had for about three years. It was exactly the kind of holiday Harvey and I had really enjoyed, though we'd never done it often enough. I was so lucky to be able to go with Jenn - she grew up on a farm not far away, and knew the whole area really well, so we managed to see everything without ever feeling rushed or pressured. Working out holidays can be a dilemma when you're on your own, but this was a brilliant solution.  


  1. a charming post which I have linked to a fb group: The Catlins New Zealand. I hope you come back and do lots more walks in our area! CJMcKenzie Fortrosenz

  2. Have a look at my food blog too, it's about what we ate down there.

  3. Lovely to see you are back on your blog and wonderful to know you could have such an accessible and warming experience in the Catlins.