Day 34 – From Queenstown to the Catlins

I had a fair amount of driving to do today so I set out at 8:30am and headed south towards my first destination which was Waipapa Point on the Southern tip of the South island.

Drive out of Queenstown

It was a great morning, sunny and dry with a fair amount of fog and low cloud as I drove out of Queenstown.  The drive took just under three hours and I arrived at Waipapa Point just before noon.


At Waipapa Point I was looking forward to seeing the historic lighthouse.  It was also the point of New Zealand’s worst shipping disaster when the SS Tararua ran aground on a hidden reef in 1881 and 131 people lost their lives.

Waipapa Point Lighthouse

It’s also a great point to see wildlife.  As I walked towards the beach a lady told me to watch out.  As I looked a meter away there was a huge sea lion on the beach hidden in a tiny cove.  It was amazing to see one so big and up close.  Within a few minutes another sea lion came bounding in from the sea and sat on the sand for a bit.

I saw three in total, it was absolutely fascinating.

From Waipapa Point I drove to Curio Bay.  This has the fossilized remains of a 100 million year old forest from the Jurassic Park period.  Very interesting!  Porpoise Bay is also close by although I wasn’t fortunate enough to see any porpoises today.

Carrying on along the coast next up was McLean falls.  This was a 40 min return hike from the car park to the falls.  The falls were pretty amazing and very picturesque.


Last for today was going to be the Cathedral Caves but it was not going to be as the access is governed by the tides and there was no access for the next three days – ho hum!

So onto the campsite for the evening.   The lady who runs the campsite said she’d given me the best spot and she certainly did.  The view of the bay and the sea is a wonder to behold.

Sunset – Surat Bay – Newhaven Beach

I parked up da beast and went for a walk along the beach.  I was just totally blown away by the views.  The sun was going down and the reflection of the sunset in the bay was breathtaking.  The beach was deserted, it was calm and quiet, the only noise was the waves from the ocean.

After a long day driving it was music to my ears!

Number of times stalled the van = 0

Number of times been honked at = 0

Number of kms today = 351kms

Cumulative kms to date = 4044

Firsts for today: Seeing those fabulous sea lions and finding Surat Bay – fabulous!


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