Slope Point (4800 km from South Pole)

March 19, 2009

We overslept today, at 8.15 when the alarm went off, I did not want to get out of bed. I could heard the rain furiously hitting the roof of our nice place. Dani got up complaining about the many bites he had all over his body, saying that he woke up twice cause of the itching. We had again another fantastic English breakfast, we forgot again the beans in the car…DTG_7654

All packed and ready for the Southern Scenic Route, leaving the blue Kepler mountains behind. The quiet road passes alongside farming lands and yes we finally see where all the 40 million sheep are, until now we have mainly seen cows, but Southland and Otago is were they keep them. We passed Invercargill without stopping and after a few incredibly inconsistent turns right and left we entered into the enchanted Catlins. According to the Lonely planet, in a clear, sunny day there is nothing more beautiful than this coast, surrounded by forest green, ocean blues and rugged bays. Unfortunately today was grey, Antarctic windy and raining, so we did not cross many tourists. We stopped at Fortrose to think about our planning for the day and go to the information centre. The village itself has nothing but this bar-restaurant-information place in a beautiful location. We were not hungry but decided to have the seafood chowder, delicious with local ale and local pinot gris, ummmmmmmm. By the time we finished it had stopped raining, so we felt already energized for the myriad of stops and walks ahead. Not much civilization, so no mobile network, so no accommodation yet for the night. We took the coastal road to Waipapa point and the historic lighthouse. DTG_7665 We walked to the beach in search of the sea lions, apparently they were either surfing or sunbathing on a different beach. By the way this area could be very appropriately renamed Windland, as the wind blows you away if you are not watching your steps.  We escaped the rain for 1 minute, which could have been soaking wet given the wind. We continued to Slope Point, the most southern point in NZ and the closest we have ever been to Antarctica. We followed the yellow markers for 20 minutes crossing someone’s farmland to reach a sign with the name, and the km away from Ecuador and the ice continent. If winds were strong in the previous spot, they were superman-only-can-fly type in here. Cliff views up and down the coast, dani took the compulsory photo and we were pushed back (by the wind) to the car. Another common feature of this area are the windswept trees which let you no doubt of the direction and intensity of the wind, another photo taken. I am so happy dani has a digital camera!! Back on the road until Curio Bay, which is a curious place where there is a petrified forest. According to the scientists, fossilized trees similar to kauri lie embedded on coastal bedrock. DTG_7657 DTG_7675They are remnants of a 180 million year old Jurassic era forest. They were petrified in a period of 2 months due to a mud flood which covered them in silica, I reckon I read. There were also signs here explaining that you could see the yellow-eyed penguin here, how to behave in such case and bla bla bla. Obviously the penguins were playing cards with the sea lions, somewhere else, I think the kiwis (birds) were also with them. We had a few more stops in our way, but as it was 17.45, we decided to go shelter searching instead. In Papatowai we found another fantastic place where we are right now. In a house with 4 bedrooms but only two souls in it, with great ocean and hills views, is called Hilltop. Really nice!! This one beats the one in Te Anau, really beautiful, cosy, and decorated!! It is called hilltop backpackers and apart from the stunning views over the Pacific Ocean is ranked by “the Observer” as one of New Zealand’s top 10 great experiences and wonderful memories. 

2 comments

  1. Comment by Sergio

    Sergio Reply March 25, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Slope Point … ¡Puf! Nice place … I remember it with a lot of rain and windy … I see in the photo that it has not change a bit.

    Regards,
    Sergio

  2. Comment by dani

    dani Reply March 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    It was sunny but I have never been is a such windy place ;-)

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