NZ Driving the Caitlins

Old Oct 19th, 2004, 06:57 AM
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NZ Driving the Caitlins

We will be driving from Dunedin along the coast, towards Invercargill. From what I read, Invercargill is not the place to end up. Any suggestions on where we should stop or stay? I know the drive would only take a few hours, but we plan on making a day of it, stopping to hike or for snacks or whatever. The next day, we only end up in Te Anau, so we don't have to go all the way to Invercargill, if there's somehwere better before we get there. Can anyone help?
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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We did this trip in February when we took some friends around New Zealand. It took us a full day to drive from Dunedin to Invercargill. Our first stop was to visit the lighthouse at Nugget Point. We were fortunate enough to see many seals and a selection of seabirds, but unfortunately, sealions and penguins continued to elude us. Our next stop was at Jack's Blowhole, and was not so successful. We undertook the 40 minutes round walk to be rewarded by a large Blowhole, but one exhibiting very little activity as the tide was low. I suggest that if you consider visiting this you check the tides first.

Following a very pleasant bush walk, we returned to the coast and had an encounter with some Hector's Dolphins at Porpoise Bay. We did drive down to Slope Point, the southern most point of the South Island, but we declined to take the walk to the actual point.

We stopped for the night in Invercargill where we had a lovely Motel, the Balmoral, which included a spa bath for $70 a night. From what little we saw of it, Invercargill is a pleasant town and probably worth a longer visit then we could offer it.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Sounds like a great day. Can't wait. I think we'll try to find a farm stay somewhere near the end of the route, before or after Invercargill. Thanks for the advice!
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Hi there

If you are just intending to find a place to stay for the night then Invercargill would be an OK stop. The Kelvin Hotel in the centre of town is reasonably comfortable rates around 120 -140 per night. It has a restaurant onsite but if you are going to eat in Invercargill I would suggest Kings. It is a seafood restaurant in the city centre. It does fairly good sefood dishes with local produce. Always seems to have local Bluff oysters on the menu even out of season.

As far as a sightseeing destination. I think your observations are fairly accurate. However there are towns you could visit on the way from Invercargill to Te Anau, so long as you don't mind taking the circuitous route. One of my favorite places in Southland is Riverton. This is a small fishing town built on an estuary. Nice little cafes there and fairly picturesque outlook.

There are other little towns around the south which may not have a heck of a lot going for them from a tourist point of view but they are surrounded by some pretty good countryside. For instance Tuatapere, surrounded by good looking countryside with mountains in the background.

As far as avoiding Invercargill all together, I think all roads virtually end up there anyway so you do end up driving through at the least.

Just a quick word of advice, don't be tempted to speed down there. I found out to my cost that there seems to be an awful lot of police on the roads doing traffic duty.

Have fun with the planning

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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Tangata - I am looking at the Balmoral for an upcoming trip. They have:

"27 centrally situated luxury units
6 studio sleep 1-3
18 standard sleep 1-4
3x2brm sleep 2-7
honeymoon & executive suites"

Which one did you get for $70? How did you book it?
Jed is offline  
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