Sunday morning I started by backtracking about 35 KM (about 22 miles) on twisty roads to a special location, Cathedral Caves. Cathedral Caves can only be accessed within an hour on both sides of low tide and even then only during daylight hours – so you have to consult the schedule and plan accordingly – and I was lucky – there are entire spans of days that you cannot access them at all. There is a slight hike down to get to the beach, and an access fee (make sure you have cash – there were some young girls that had to go try and find an ATM) for the trail – but at 5.00 NZD it is worth it for the trail to be maintained by the local land owners.
After the 1.5 km walk downhill through some beautiful bush,
You emerge onto the beach – a peaceful, untouched beach oasis.
After walking down the beach – you arrive at the caves, and WOW!
They were massive – and it was so incredible to see the changes to the caves by the sea water continually beating against the rocks. It was amazing.
After I had thoroughly explored the caves, I trekked back across the beach, and up the trail to my car.
My next stop highlights the Kiwi sense of humor. You will recall that yesterday I visited Purakanui Falls and McLean Falls, both beautiful examples of waterfalls, right?
Well, behold the New Zealand “Niagra Falls”
Next I ventured south – to Slope Point – the furthest south point of the South Island – which is located on a sheep farm (no joke, you cross through the pasture to get to the marker). The access is closed during Lambing season (September – November)
My next stop was the cliffs at Fortrose. It was windy – so I didn’t stay long, or get too close to the edge, but it was cool.
A bit chilly at this point, I was thankful to find a cafe and grab some Seafood Chowder and a hot coffee before continuing my adventure.
Next up, I made my way to Bluff, and Stirling Point, which is often confused with Slope Point – Stirling Point is the end of the Motorway which stretches from the tip of the north island (at Cape Reinga) to here in Bluff.
With some extra time before I needed to be in Invercargill and return my rental car, I decided to explore more of Bluff. This led me to follow signs to the Te Rau Aroha Marae. Such a unique Marae from the outside – beautiful!
Then I headed to the Bluff Lookout, thinking it might be a cool spot to enjoy the sunset.
As I headed up the path to the lookout, there were some informative signs about Moas, birds and other native wildlife, predators, pests and history.
It was a good call to head up here!
Check out the views!
Check out this panorama of the views:
Finally, I headed to Invercargill, hit the grocery store, returned the rental car, did laundry and prepared for my next journey – I am off to Raikura – Stewart Island in the morning.