After yesterday we felt confident to go on a small hike. We still wanted to do the Key Summit track, which we skipped earlier on. On the way there we picked up a hitchhiker from Switzerland with whom we had amusing conversations. We talked about the small vocabulary range of the kiwis, who tend to use the words ‘historic’ and ‘scenic’ everywhere. Once we dropped him of, we started on the track. It was absolutely worth the sniffling, the huge amount of stops and the dizziness once we reached the top. With amazing views of the valley, glaciers and lake Marian we ate our lunch. Even though we don’t do overnighters, we do like walking parts of the Great Walks such as the two parts of the Routeburn we now did.
After a week of being grounded in Te Anau, we were finally on the move again! Our first stop was in Bluff, after Mirte proposed to go there excitedly. However, when we were almost there and Miriam asked why, she didn’t really know. It was fun though! 🎉the next stop was a special stop to finish our quest: going to the most northern and southern points of both the islands. Slope Point was not that impressive on its own BUT WE DID IT!
On the way to Dunedin we had a lot of sightseeing stops. First of which was at the Petrified Forest where we could walk on the petrified remains of trees and tree trunks. Next to it was Porpoise Bay known for its Hector dolphins. With a lot of patience we saw some fins popping out of the water, swimming and playing around. We were just in time before the high tide set in at the Cathedral Caves. Unsuspecting, we went inside the caves to take some pictures. Before we knew it, the waves were already inside the cave and we had to pull up our trousers to waddle out. For lunch we stopped at the Florence Hill lookout. We didn’t pay a lot of attention to the cloudy view, but mostly to the cows in the meadow. This wasn’t the only cattle we had an encounter with. On our way to The Lost Gypsy caravan we were in a weird traffic situation. A shepherd was shifting his sheep to another paddock using a car and two dogs. It was hilarious being surrounded by this enormous amount of sheep. We wriggled us out of the herd to see the caravan. It’s impossible to describe what we saw inside. Countless amounts of quirky, genius crafts. We felt like children pushing every button, pulling every string and turning levers. It really was a magical place! The mesmerising Purakaunui Falls were next on the list and after that we went to Nugget Point passing Roaring Bay where we hoped to see some penguins. Apart from some seals we had no luck.
We initially planned to go to the Otago Peninsula. As soon as we drove to our first spot, the Larnach Castle, we directly drove into clouds, which made it impossible to look any further than two metres. We couldn’t escape the thick white blanket so we decided to go back to the campsite. There is a reason New Zealand is called Aotearoa (Māori for “land of the long white cloud”).
Anniversary day! Our very last one in New Zealand. We spent the day in the centre of Dunedin being all cultural visiting the Public Art Gallery and the Otago Museum. Our favourite one was The Bloggs by Nicola Jackson. She presented the human anatomy in a colourful, funny and original way. In the Otago Museum we had a lot of fun with the stuffed albatross, the Moa skeletons and the ‘very realistic’ alligator. On the way walking home we saw some more (street)art. We celebrated our anniversary by going to ‘Beauty and the Beast’. We liked it a lot! Great songs, funny implications and pretty scenery.
It was really necessary to tidy up our car, so that’s what we did. We felt the urge to bake something delicious and nutritious. Banana oatmeal cookies it was! Now that we had our road trip snack, we had another go at the Otago Peninsula. This time we were blessed with a clear sky, so we were able to see albatrosses in real life at the Taiaroa head, along with some fur seals. Afterwards we went to Tunnel Beach where we watched the force of the waves against the rocks and we dangled our feet above it, sitting on the edge. We drove to Baldwin Street, which is the steepest residential street in the world, for a quick picture. We went to the penguin spot Kaitiki Point. Although we were sceptic, we were proven wrong when Miriam saw the first penguin. We were rewarded with six rare yellow-eyed penguins!!! We were immensely happy seeing wildlife other than (fur)seals. Even though there were heaps of them here as well. Close to Kaitiki Point were super famous stones (yay). The Moeraki Boulders, very photogenic indeed.
Oamaru is known for its yellow-eyed and blue penguins. We went on the hunt for Pāua shells however. Pāua shells are often incorporated by the Māori in holy statues and buildings and have a beautiful, pearl-like inside. We read something about the Elephant Rocks, so we took a look in the drizzle. Close by were some Māori rock drawings which were intriguing as well. Our next adventure was in Omarama at the Clay Cliffs. While we were walking between the pillars, we got a bit overconfident and climbed higher than we should have, which made it thrilling to come down again. This was intense enough for today, so we went to a campsite in Twizel where we had a fun evening with Marjolein from Belgium.
Love Miriam & Mirte