One night in the Catlins

Aug 4th, 2005, 05:33 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
One night in the Catlins

DH and I (Americans in our mid-late twenties) will have one night to spend in the Catlins. We will spend the previous night on Milford Sound and arrive in Te Anau around noon. From there, we would like to drive into the Catlins. (We're thinking the southern scenic route through Tuatapere and Riverton.) We need to end up in Dunedin the following evening.
Would it be best to arrive in Invercargill late afternoon/early evening, spend the night there, and leave to tour the Catlins the next morning, driving leisurely towards Dunedin?
Would it be better to stay somewhere else, further into the Catlins coastline from Invercargill?
Would it make any sense to drive down from Te Anau to Curio Bay or the Cathedral Caves the same evening we check into Invercargill (sunset isn't until after 9pm in January), and then doubling back the next day toward Dunedin to see other sights?
I am really confused on what to do... I have all of the Southland tourism brochures but can't sort through everything!
We are most interested in scenery, waterfalls, caves, the petrified forest, and wildlife (though not really birds other than penguins). We like taking short hikes too.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Liz
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 06:18 PM
  #2  
ALF
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
I'd stay in the Catlins. We stayed at a marvelous B & B on June and Murray Stratford’s farm, nestled in the bottom of Progress Valley, which is a short drive from Cathedral Caves. You could drive there from Invercargill, then drive the next day to Dunedin.

A couple of words of advice about Cathedral Caves: you really must time this correctly to enter the caves at low tide. Many people have gotten themselves in trouble by being inside the caves as the tide rises and water rushes in. Also, the beach along the entrance to the caves can be overrun with sandflies, so bring repellant.

If you like wildlife, you might want to consider taking a boat out of Waikawa to view the rare Hector's dolphins that cavort just outside the bay. There are several outfits that will do this - we liked Koromika Charters, which uses a smaller boat.

I must admit to being kind of disappointed at the petrified wook around Curio Bay. Most of the fossils are long pieces of (formerly) wood imbedded in the surrounding matrix of rock. Because the fossilized wood is more durable than the matrix, the fossils stick out as long ridges. While interesting, it doesn't compare to sites I've been to in the U.S., such as Yellowstone, Petrified Forest, and the Gingko Forest (WA).
ALF is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:26 AM
  #3  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
As I see it, the question is whether to stay in IC and early next morning go through the coastal road, see all that is there, and wind up in Dunedin. Or to pass through IC and "stay somewhere else, further into the Catlins coastline from Invercargill". It doesn't seem reasonable to double back to IC. Going on would be my choice. From TA to IC is not that far, and you could drive further without problem. You will not miss anything by not staying in IC.

ALF's suggestion seems very good. For other acommodations, see
http://linkwrap.com/3700
.
Jed is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:07 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Thank you both for your responses.
The farmstay looks really nice. But I think we wouldn't have enough time to enjoy it properly. (I would hate to be at a homestay only from sunset to sunrise if we are out exploring...)
I have emailed Curio Bay Boutique Accommodation for availability, which sounds very nice as well.
http://tinyurl.com/ay76q
We can explore that area our first day, and then take the full next day, driving towards Dunedin, to explore the Cathedral Caves, Purakaunui Falls, Jack's Blowhole, and Nugget Point?

We will pay extra close attention to the tides. I grew up in a boating family and understand how important the tides truly are, especially when I am inside a seaside cave! And we'll definitely bring insect repellant-- I am not looking forward to meeting these "sandfly" creatures. (We only have mosquitos in Minnesota, USA.)
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:26 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
Depending how well you slept and showered on the overnight Milford Sound trip (there were only 3 showers on the boat I was on), you may be glad of a simple journey and early checkin the next day.

The Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins from Invercargill to Dunedin is any easy day trip even with all the sightseeing detours and stops. It's paved the whole way now. I found it difficult to find the start of the route leaving Invercargill: you need a good map or directions. The road to Nugget Point is unpaved.
someotherguy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:53 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
someotherguy
Which boat were you on in Milford? We are on the Mariner in an ensuite cabin and it looks like we have a shower. Were you on the Wanderer with bunks and communal bathrooms? Just wondering.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 09:02 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
Yes, I was on the Wanderer. I had a 4-bunk cabin to myself but sleeping on a small boat isn't like being in a hotel.
someotherguy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 11:48 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,700
The route from TeAnaue thru Tuatapere and Riverton is more scenic than going inland via Lumsden etc. There really isn't much walking to do along that part of the route, so you can easily get beyond Invercargill. I do recommend stopping to see Henry the tuatara at the Museum, stocking up on food etc. (there's a nice New World at the corner of Herbert and Windsor, from the North Rd (Rt 6) turn left on Herbert. If you head straight down (south) Queens Drive, you'll pass along Queens park and the Southland Museum. Pick up the southern scenic route by turning left onto McQuarrie St).

The fossilized wood is exposed on the sea bed at low tide, but there isn't any reason to go out of your way on that one. My wild penguin sighting was at Nuggets. The waterfalls were worth the shortish hike, but I think the blowhole is only recommended in rough seas.
mlgb is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:58 PM
  #9  
ALF
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
As a former Minnesota resident, I know all about the mosquitoes that breed in all those 10,000 lakes! Not to mention the black flies that infest the northernmost part of the State (northshore, Iron Range, Voyageurs/Boundary Waters). Still, I would take both of those over those nasty NZ sandflies, which can swarm all over you, and the bites really hurt. Fortunately, their range is somewhat limited, mostly infesting the west and south parts of the South Island.
ALF is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 07:16 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Hi Alf!
I didn't know you were from MN. Where do you live now? We are both transplants from WI while I am in graduate school.
My aunt has a cabin in Ely so I know the black flies you speak of.
The sandflies sound awful...we will definitely have repellant on hand.
Liz
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #11  
ALF
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
I went to grad school at UM in the late '80s. We lived in a nice little house on Powderhorn Park, just off Hiawatha Ave. I spent summers in and around Ely, doing geology field research.

We moved to Seattle in the early 90s, and now live in Snohomish, 25 mi. NE of the city.

My family spent 6 months in NZ in the late 90s. We bought a campervan and wandered all over.
ALF is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:46 PM.