New Zealand, Our Way


#4 - From Te Anau

DID YOU KNOW that 220 electricity gets hotter faster than 110? Frankly, I never gave it a thought before.

DID YOU KNOW the when a too hot curling iron touches hair the hair smokes, frizzes, melts on the iron, turns black and smells bloody awful? You do now.

We're off again. Leaving Dunedin behind, we're once again heading south. This time to Bluff - the southern-most city in the world.

At Balclutha we departed the main road for the Southern Scenic Route via the Catlins. *grin Look it up on a map. Balclutha to Bluff is about 190km - and about 30 of that is unpaved, unsealed and rough. If I have ever seen a brighter more piercing sun I don't know when it was. It was so blinding at times that even with sun glasses, tinted windshield and the whatchamacallits down we had to slow to a crawl because we just couldn't see anything. It literally danced on the water.

From the time I first landed in NZ I've been seeing the most incredible postcards and pictures of Purakaunui Falls [don't ask me how to pronounce it]. Anyway, they are on the Southern Scenic Route, so that's the way we just had to go. It was about a 10 minute walk from the road, but worth every step.

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The route winds through ridges and valleys along the rocky coast. Seals abound on the rocks offshore. We drove through native forests that looked untouched by man.

The gravel road we could happily have done without.

In Bluff we stayed at the Land's End B & B in a room with the most awesome view. It was at the very tip of land. Truly Land's End! After dinner we sat around with the owners and another visiting couple from Australia chatting about everything from the price of petrol to recipes to the internet. ;-)

We woke to another day of blue skies and sunshine - and white clouds. The rolling sheep-manicured hills of the east coast have given way to the craggy peaks of the west coast. btw-n&t-2.jpg - 35440 BytesOur first stop of the day was Riverton - the oldest established settlement in Otago-Southland - and wandered through a Paua shell factory. [I picked up a couple more Christmas gifts here.] Next was McCracken's Rest, a lookout of Te Wae Wae Bay, hoping to spot a couple of dolphins - but it was a no go. ;-( Then to Tuatapere and a walk through a podocarp forest. Not only gorgeous, but the birds were stupendous. Never did see very many but their singing was wonderful. Standing in the forest with the barest flutter of a breeze and the songs of the birds was food for the soul. Off we go again, stopping this time at the Clifden Suspension Bridge. It was constructed in 1898 and opened in 1899. Although no longer in use for traffic, you can wander across it. The view of the river below was beautiful. Strange rock formations in the water though. Almost looked liked poured concrete. Chatted with an Auckland couple visiting the South Island.

Past Lake Manapouri [beautiful] and into Te Anau, where we'll be staying for a few days at one of the holiday homes. Picked up the keys at the local police station and headed for Lakefront Drive. Beautiful home, built in 1996, and overlooking the lake. All tongue and groove panelling inside. 3 bedrooms, washer and dryer, TV and microwave. All we needed was our linens. Wow!!

During the course of my contacting people and sites prior to our visit I received an email from a gal named Carol. She'd seen a note about our trip on her servers homepage and decided that as we had the same name and both came from California, she'd get in touch with me. She and Dave, her husband, are in NZ for three years. We've been corresponding for the last 3-4 months. She sent me her phone number and told me to be sure to call when we got into town. *VBG And then she told her husband what she'd done! [Boy, does this sound familiar] So, I called her and we chatted for a while and made plans to get together for dinner the next evening. Her husband was out of town, so we also made plans for the four of us to have dinner when he returned on Friday.

ta-gc-3.jpg - 30386 BytesWe puttered around the next morning and then took a tour of the local Glowworm Caves. These little worms hug the top of the cave and spin a string of sorts to catch their food. The hungrier they are the brighter they glow. I was just waiting for one to drop, but lucked out and made it through safely. Ahhhhhh!!!!

After resting up a bit we went to pick up Carol for dinner. She was waiting outside for us and I just KNEW it was because she wasn't about to let these strange people in her house. Would you? She's every bit as nice in person as I knew she would be. We went to The Moose for dinner and Matt and I had our first lamb since arriving. {Side note: Strange as it seems for a country with over 70 million sheep, lamb isn't on all that many menus, and when it is, there's never more than one dish.} The three of us chatted about everything and anything and had a wonderful time. By the end of dinner, Carol was telling the hostess how we met on the internet. She and Matt scheduled a golf game for Friday - this was Wednesday. I plan to stay home and SOAK. I'm really missing my aqua therapy classes more and more as the time passes. We dropped Carol off at her home and I could imagine her heading for the phone to reassure Dave she hadn't been abducted. Later she told me her neighbor was watching for the lights to come on indicating she got home safely. Doesn't this sound like all us 50+ club members a couple of years ago when we first started meeting. Sure brought back memories for me.

Once again I've gone on and on and on, so until later,


Carole and Matt

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