the Catlins and Stewart Island
Nov 2 - 4, '04

(click on the first picture to get started; captions are at the bottom of each picture page)

I squeezed in a three-day trip to the Catlins (south of Dunedin) and then Stewart Island (further south).  Here at Kaka Point I caught a photo of a sea bird on the rocks. A short way farther down the coast is Nugget Point, which is unusual geologically because the strata making up the rock (which form horizontally) have been tipped 90 degrees to become vertical.  This in turn influences the erosion and creates a beautiful and exotic scene.
Close-up of the rocks off Nugget Point.  A lighthouse was built onshore to warn vessels of these dangerous rocks. The coast of southern NZ, looking north towards Kaka point.  Looks like a tropical paradise eh?
I ate lunch at this beach just down the hill from Nugget Point, called Roaring Bay.  Supposedly penguins come ashore here at dusk.  There wasn't much happening at midday, but it was sure a beautiful place.
Another stop on my way through the Catlins was at Parakaunui Falls, a short hike away from the dirt road.  I was the only one there; the only sounds were the birds and falling water. I took another short hike down to mirrorlike Lake Wilkie, which includes a boardwalk through the swampy lake edge.  Once again, there was no one else in sight.  It's not often that you see such beautiful places, and even less often that they are so undisturbed.
But the Coolest Place of All was right here at Curio Bay.  Known internationally (at least among geologists), the protrusions seen on this rock face are the fossilized remains of the stumps and logs of a Jurassic forest!  Can you see it? Down on the ledge I got a closer view of the "fossil forest".  It was preserved by an ash flow ("lahar") that covered the forest in muddy ash, thus killing it but preserving it.  Over time, minerals replaced the organic material in the stumps and logs and the ocean weathered away the ash to leave us this site.
The next morning I took the "ferry" to Stewart Island, also known as Rakiura, which you can see in the distance across the Foveaux Straight. I stayed in a hostel with a beautiful spring garden.
The first afternoon I hiked around Halfmoon Bay (the area where the few people of Stewart Is. live) a bit. What a nice artsy shot: Halfmoon Bay with Yellow Slide in Foreground.
The next morning I saw the election results on the headlines of the local paper, and set off to Ulva Island, a bird sanctuary island. This is the view from a lookout point on Ulva Island.
Lots of trails like this take you through the island on the lookout for rare New Zealand birds. The trails ended at multiple orange sandy beaches.
I tried to find a sign of "Stewart Island" to take my photo next to, but this one on the dock at Halfmoon Bay will have to do. :) Back in Dunedin, I studied geology in the lovely botanical gardens.)