The Caitlins and more!!

Feb 25th, 2019, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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The Caitlins and more!!

After living in New Zealand for the last 60 odd years, DH and I are going to do a three week caravan trip concentrating on the Caitlins, and the bottom of the South Island, hopefully coming back to Nelson via the Haast Pass which we have never done. We will go down via Christchurch, Oamaru, Dunedin. Leaving 18th March 19.

Being lazy I am looking for recommendations of places to stay, (we will not be freedom camping), restaurants, things to do etc. Gleaning from those who have done this trip several times.

Thanks in advance.
nelsonian is online now  
Feb 27th, 2019, 08:47 AM
  #2  
 
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We stayed at Pounawea Motor Camp at Owaka both time we visited the Caitlinís. The location is hard to beat. Some great beach and bush walks, some directly from the property (tide dependent) . The second best fish and chips in NZ are to be found in Owaka!
Beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Some details and photos on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/2016/02...route-day-one/

Another favourite spot is the DOC site at Lake Paringa incredible views:
Attached Thumbnails The Caitlins and more!!-02b156ea-5537-4fa7-b33f-7b32ea71c932.jpg   The Caitlins and more!!-fe5707e2-ccb5-4c5d-911f-39adfd07313a.jpg  
crellston is offline  
Feb 27th, 2019, 11:06 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Crellston, I will check out your blog. I have also been reading other posts, and done some cutting and pasting to a Word document.
nelsonian is online now  
Feb 27th, 2019, 01:20 PM
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nelsonian - IT'S ABOUT TIME!

I had to dig deep, but we really enjoyed our stay here:

Catlins Accommodation

We also enjoyed our stay here many moons ago, but I'm not sure if it's still under the same ownership:

https://www.homeforhire.com/home/fortrose-retreat.aspx
Melnq8 is online now  
Feb 27th, 2019, 04:11 PM
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I'm a beach person, so I love Curio Bay Salthouse, which is right on Porpoise Bay:
https://www.curiobaysalthouse.co.nz/
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Hotel_...th_Island.html
Porpoise Bay is home to a small population of Hector's dolphins. They can usually be found in the bay through April. Curio Bay is a short walk away. Porpoise Bay is in the South Catlins. We've found it useful for visiting Cathedral Caves, McLean Falls, Slope Point, Waipapa Point, and the Waipohatu Bush Walk (which can be muddy).
Friends stayed here and enjoyed the views and Little Blue Penguins who were nesting under the accommodation:
https://www.curiobay.co.nz/
Sandflies can be an annoyance on Porpoise Bay.

You might want to break up your trip, spending a night or two in the North Catlins to see attractions in that area, then a night or two in the South Catlins. If you like coastal views, Kaka Point in the North Catlins is a good choice as it's close to Nugget Point Lighthouse and Roaring Bay.

How long will you be in Dunedin? Would you want to see some of the city or its more rural attractions (Otago Peninsula, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Aramoana Beach, Long Beach, Doctor's Point Beach, etc.) or both, or would you just be passing through on your way to the Catlins? You'd probably find downtown too busy and congested (the university students are back)—though there's lots of great accommodation in the city centre. If you prefer less busy surroundings, I'd suggest the St. Clair neighborhood (close to beaches, Tunnel Beach track, a 10-minute drive to the Otago Peninsula or downtown Dunedin, and handy for the SSR) or the Otago Peninsula, but there also many other areas worth considering, including many more rural coastal communties from Karitane down to Brighton (these are still in greater Dunedin). It just depends on what you're in the mood for, there's a huge variety of environments and accommodation in Dunedin.

I'm most familiar and partial to my own neighborhood (St. Clair). But living here is different from visiting. You know how it is, for day to day we think more about convenience. I also like being able to just walk down to the beach.
There's popular accommodation along the St. Clair Esplanade:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Hotel_...th_Island.html
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Hotel_...th_Island.html
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Hotel_...th_Island.html

Friends of mine stayed here and recommend it (it's in St. Clair):
https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/20607194?guests=1&adults=1
There's a B&B a few doors down from me, but I haven't spoken to anyone who's stayed there:
https://www.booking.com/hotel/nz/wow-saint-clair.html
There's also one around the corner from me:
https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/new/.../58273#reviews

One of my friends will be staying at this place in rural Oamaru this weekend. If you're interested, I'll follow up and ask if she liked it:
https://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-a...mes/view/42451

I've always thought it would be nice to stay in Moeraki. But it would be pretty quiet.
https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/new/.../Otago/Moeraki

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 27th, 2019 at 04:39 PM.
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Feb 28th, 2019, 10:42 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the tips. We will be towing a small caravan, so will be staying at motor camps. this time, or camping sites which have power. This is our first big trip in the caravan, three weeks to go from Nelson down to Catlins and back via Haast Pass, I think. Nothing is planned at this stage. Have never really looked around Dunedin, so may stay two nighst or so around that area. Two nights in the Catlins. A night at Oamaru. Apart from that we are winging it!!!
nelsonian is online now  
Feb 28th, 2019, 03:38 PM
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I see, sorry I missed the "caravan" part of yoru message. There is a holiday park at Curio Bay, but I don't think I'd recommend it. It's big, crowded and it didn't seem well-kept (based on my visit to their toilet). There's another holiday park not far away near McLean Falls, Catlins Kiwi Holiday Park at McLean Falls, close to the Whistling Frog Cafe:
The one at Surat Bay seemed nice, Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park. Surat Bay is in the North Catlins and known for its sea lions.

Since you need a powered site, in Dunedin you might consider staying at Dunedin Holiday Park behind St. Kilda Beach (though you can't see the beach from there). St, Kilda is next to St. Clair. The holiday park is a big place, but excellently located. There's a street, John Wilson Drive, that runs above St. Kilda Beach. It partially closes to traffic after 3 p.m. and gets that late afternoon sun from the west as the sun dips below the clouds. Nice place to go for a walk on a clear afternoon. The beach is also beautiful at low tide, but gets shady late afternoon. St. Kilda Beach is a city beach so more accessible than those on the peninsula or on the West Harbor (Port Chalmers side), but it's still nice. The holiday park would be a 10 minute drive from downtown, a 10 minute drive from the Otago Peninsula, about 15 minutes from the Tunnel Beach Track, close to the start of the Southern Scenic Route (Tunnel Beach is on the SSR). It's a few minutes drive from Countdown, just a few minutes longer to Pak 'n' Save.

St. Kilda Beach as seen from Lawyer's Head:


I take it you can detach the caravan and then just go for drive into town or out to the Otago Peninsula? Otherwise, there's a holiday park in Portobello (on the Otago Peninsula), Portobello Village Tourist Park. You'd probably like this location the best. You'd be so close to Taiaroa Head Lighthouse and its albatross and Little Blue Penguin colonies; to my favorite beach for walking on at low tide, Allans Beach; to Hoopers Inlet with its gorgeous night skies; the Sandymount Track with its coastal views; Penguin Place, Larnach Castle and Glenfalloch Gardens would all be close by. The only thing is, you won't have much fun driving on winding Portobello Road while towing a caravan. But, having never done this, I really wouldn't know. People must do it all the time.

There's also a smaller holiday park in Leith Valley, Leith Valley Holiday Parks, located near some wooded walking paths (bellbirds and tuis) and not far from Dunedin's tiny glow worm dell. It gets so-so reviews, described a "basic". It's closer to downtown, but more incovenient for exploring the Otago Peninsula.

There's also a Top 10 Holiday Park, but, like Leith Valley Holiday Park, close to downtown, but more incovenient for exploring the Otago Peninsula.

There are many popular freedom camping sites in Dunedin, including a new one next to the Railway Station. But, obviously, not powered.

There's a lot to see and do in Dunedin city as well: three breweries (Speight's, Emersons, New New New), the Botanic Garden (wearing early fall colors), the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the Otago Museum (you'd like the Southern Land, Southern People gallery), the Railway Station and its Saturday morning Otago Farmers Market, Toitu Settlers Museum (which, I think, as South Islanders, you'd really enjoy), a new artisan chocolate factory, and more.

If you follow the SSR from Dunedin to the Catlins, you'll drive along Dunedin's south coast, 17 km. of beaches that end at Taieri Mouth. There's a holiday park here as well, but I don't know if they have powered sites. There a nice walking track here, the Taieri River Track.
https://www.facebook.com/pg/www.taierimouthbeachcamp.co.nz/reviews/?referrer=page_recommendations_see_all&ref=page_in ternal
About the walking track (please note it can get muddy after rains):
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...i-river-track/

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 28th, 2019 at 04:03 PM.
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Feb 28th, 2019, 03:38 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for this fuysg.
gurusman is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 03:38 PM
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Good

Nice one. Thanks for info
gurusman is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 04:21 PM
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Taieri River Track (water was brown from recent heavy rains, normally it's blue):
Diamantina is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 09:14 PM
  #11  
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Thanks Diamantina. Our caravan is detachable, so can leave it while we go and explore. You have given me some great links and advice. Much appreciated.
nelsonian is online now  
Mar 4th, 2019, 02:02 AM
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Any plan for Oamaru? Possibilities include Steampunk HQ, the Blue Penguin Colony, both in the beautiful Victorian precinct; Whitestone Cheese (they offer factory tours as well); Oamaru Botanic Garden. Riverstone Kitchen is an interesting restaurant as they grow their own vegetables and, when I was there many years ago, you could walk around its gardens. There's now a modern-day "castle" nearby. You can read about it here:
https://www.odt.co.nz/business/irrep...ll-she-surveys
And here:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/h...-oamaru-castle

From Oamaru to Dunedin, major stops include Moeraki Boulders, Moeraki village (home to Fleur's Restaurant), Shag Point (seals and shags). Katiki Point Lighthouse in Moeraki is scenic but the road to it wouldn't be easy towing a caravan.

If you're interested in historical places, there's the Totara Estate. I've not been here myself, as I couldn't convince my husband that it was worth visiting. This was the first slaughterhouse that sent frozen meat to Britain--a game changer in 1882. More about:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/totara-estate
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/first-ship...meat-leaves-nz
Visitor information | Totara Estate | Otago region | Places to Visit | Places | Heritage New Zealand

Also, as an alternative to taking SH1 all the way from Oamaru to Dunedin, you might want to get off at Karitane, have a look around Karitane then take Coast Road to Warrington, where you can rejoin SH1. I don't think this road would be too difficult while towing a caravan (unless it's a really big one). There's more about it here:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Attrac...th_Island.html
https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Oamar...n_avoiding_SH1

I hope you have great weather for your trip. In Dunedin, we just suffered through a week of winter weather, followed by a warm and sunny weekend. You never know what to expect here.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 07:36 PM
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Thanks Diamantina. Your idea about going to Karitane has just sparked some childhood memories for me. My Dad was a Postmaster and had access to the holiday homes owned by the Post Office Welfare Association. Every February we would take two weeks off school and go and stay in one of these cottages. We did Karitane twice I think. The cottage must have been close to the wharf as I remember waking up in the morning to the engine noise of the fishing boats as they went out to sea. We also caught butterfish, and spotties off the wharf. I have probably seen a lot of the tourist attractions around here but can't really remember them. My DH hasn't been down this way before. Our caravan is tiny, may upgrade if this trip turns out to be a success.

We have seen the blue penguins at Phillip Island in Victoria so will probably give them a miss.
nelsonian is online now  
Mar 4th, 2019, 11:24 PM
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Your childhood memories sound priceless. I would have loved to have spent time in Karitane back then and some of those other holiday homes you stayed in. Karitane is still a sweet place, not really a tourist attraction, more a favorite for locals. There's a nice little walk there at its Huriawa Pa. I think the wharf you're remembering is in its estuary.

I understand. There are an amazing number of penguins at Phillip Island.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2019, 10:05 PM
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Loved our walk to Tunnel Beach today. Hard to imagine Sir John Cargill and family walking down to the beach for a swim. It was 492 feet down from the road. Very steep climb back to the car. Made it though!!!

Magnificent cliffs/coves

Beautiful beach.

Tunnel to get down to beach. 72 steps.
nelsonian is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2019, 01:55 AM
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Nice photos. Welcome to Dunedin, Nelsonian!

"Hard to imagine Sir John Cargill and family walking down to the beach for a swim." So true. There are so many other Dunedin beaches that don't require such a climb (excluding Sandfly Bay). Whenever I feel like I need some exercise but don't have much time, I go to Tunnel Beach. The walk is more interesting and effective than the gym's Stairmaster, but far more beautiful. Looks like you were there at low tide. At high tide, the waves crash against the rocky cliffs.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2019, 04:08 AM
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Wow! This is stunning. Youíve convinced me to make the trip when Iím in Dunedin later this year.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2019, 11:19 AM
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Diamantina, are you actually able to walk through the tunnel at high tide? It was a beautiful place. Off to see the Albatrosses today, and Lanarck Castle.
nelsonian is online now  
Mar 24th, 2019, 04:23 PM
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Hi Nelsonian. Normally, yes, at high tide you can walk down through the tunnel, but the stairs will be wet and slippery and the walls of the lower portion of the tunnel will be wet as well (I've been searching for my photo of this, it looks much like your photo of the stairase only wetter). The beach will be inacccessible. It depends on how high the tide is. Usually it mostly just covers the beach, but I think it can pound against the base of the staircase during super tides.
This is what the beach often looks like at or near high tide:


Waves pound against the rock arch at high tide. This was taken late afternoon, when much of the track is shaded. I usually just walk out onto the rock arch. It feels as if you're standing on the prow of the ship.


One feature that I enjoy is how a thin waterfall forms just north of the beach after we've had a little rain.

It's a grey wet day today. You're probably on your way to the Catlins, but if you're still around Dunedin, I recommend Toitu Museum, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, or the Otago Museum. Admission is free to all three, thought donations are always welcome.

Last edited by Diamantina; Mar 24th, 2019 at 04:28 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 25th, 2019, 12:02 AM
  #20  
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Diamantina, we are still in Dunedin, we’re leaving tomorrow for the Catlins but with the severe weather forecast are planning on going to Invercargill and coming back to the Catlins on Thursday weather permitting.

Today we walked around the city centre, first time I had been to Dunedin for about 50 years, DH hadn’t been at all. We did try to go there 41 years ago on our honeymoon, but couldn’t find our way into the city centre. It was before GPS, and I am hopeless at reading maps. After the fourth time of passing the same sign we gave up and ended up staying somewhere out of the city!!

We did spend some time at Toitu Settlers Museum, what a great place. Loved a lot of the exhibits. We also went to the railway station, walked around the Octagon, luckily we didn’t get too wet. We also drove out to Aramoana later on in the afternoon.
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