It's finally time for the South Island 2007-2008 trip report! I'm going to break this one up into three sections to make it easier on me, and you. First, you can jump right to the pictures if you're more of a visual person. You can also skip ahead to part 2 or part 3.
Saturday 22 December. We got off to a reasonably early start (for us) at about 9:30 am. Our first destination was Dunedin, where we stayed with friends who kindly offered some floor space. We played Carcassonne which was my first time playing, depite having known goulo for nearly as long as the game has been available.
Sunday 23 December. The next day my host and I went to the University of Otago to try to find the Beverly Clock, which has been running since 1864 without the need to be wound up. Unfortunately, the university was completely locked up for the holidays so we couldn't find it. So, we pushed on to Kaka Point where we camped for the night. We had a lovely walk on the beach with a full moon.
Monday 24 December. The first destination was Nugget Point (right) which is a nature reserve and breeding ground for seals, penguins, birds, and so on. Then we realised that it was Christmas Eve and not only were we planning to be away from civilisation for the next couple of days, but that all shops were likely to be completely closed. We drove back to Balclutha and stocked up on supplies. Heading back to the Catlins, we did a whirlwind tour of some of the highlights: Jack's Blowhole, Purakaunui Falls, Matai Falls, McLean Falls, the Petrified Forest (160 million year old fossils of fallen trees), and a yellow-eyed penguin (zoom in, way in).
Tuesday 25 December. We started off Christmas with ice cream at Curio Bay, then visited Slope Point, which is the southernmost point of the South Island. We also wanted to visit the Cathedral Caves, but they can only be viewed at low tide (which didn't fit our schedule) and the access was closed on Christmas day anyway. We pushed on to Invercargill where we wandered the nearly empty streets after dinner. We found an umbrella sculpture (left) which is also a sundial, a map of the southern polar stars, and a tribute to the residents of Invercargill.
The next morning we headed to Bluff to catch the ferry to Stewart Island, which will be the subject of tomorrow's trip report.