Way back when we first moved to New Zealand we had visions of packing up a van and exploring every inch of the country. Although this is still the dream applying for our NZ residency has set us back a year so what we did instead was pick destinations off our initial ‘must see’ list and explore at the weekends. The Catlins was never on our initial list… I know I can’t believe it either I must have skipped past the pages in my lonely Planet guide when searching for places to go. Our housemate first introduced us to this magical place and now we are returning with some special visitors. Robbie’s parents have flown over to see us and are eager to explore the country with us. After searching the Internet for a Kiwi Bach to rent for four days I found one with an ocean view and plenty of classic beach hut decor to keep us satisfied, after all I wanted the parents to have a ‘real’ kiwi beach break.
The boot shut! We had literally packed the car like we were leaving the country, we were only going down the coast for four days and may I add to a town where people live an function in (not the desert) but hey better to be prepared. Robbie took the driving seat and got us safely down to The Catlins in record time, I was allowed to sit in the front seat as long as I didn’t fall asleep, surviving on only one coffee I managed to keep my eyes open the whole way! Pulling up to our weekend getaway was heavenly, the heavens even opened for us. It was raining when we arrived but that didn’t stop us getting straight out for a walk to the iconic Nugget Point lighthouse.
Ever since we met, way back a whole three years ago we did our first ever road trip down the Great Ocean Road in Australia thats where our obsession with Lighthouses started. See a sign, turn off run uncontrollably toward said lighthouse pointing for Robbie to see (I’m sure he can see the Lighthouse) is normally how it goes. This also pretty much sums up the rest of our relationship, a lot of naming objects, people, animals and me pointing to them all… Sheep is a personal favourite.
There is something so magical about exploring somewhere new and being able to escape the Queenstown bubble for a few days. The weather was unbelievable, even the locals couldn’t believe it, telling us how lucky we were that the sun was shining. Robbie got a surf in (24 waves to be exact) which meant he was in the best mood all weekend, topped with Avocado and Eggs everyday what more could a boy want! In every local shop, dairy or pub you can find a map of The Catlins detailing all the walks, waterfalls ( queue the TLC song ‘Chasing Waterfalls’ all weekend) and lookouts you should visit during your stay. I eagerly circled them all and took on the role of chief tour guide for the day. Innocently driving down the road towards a bridge under repair meant a 15km detour on a gravel tack, meaning we had to miss out on a few of the walks further afield but the ones we did were all amazing.
I am a sucker for a bush walk and a good waterfall so I was in my element. Everything just looked so beautiful and it was such a perfect day exploring. After visiting Mclean falls, Florence hill lookout and the beautiful Papatowai bush to beach walk we were about ready to retire for some proper New Zealand pub food. The small pub at Kaka Point is such a good spot, beautiful view, beautiful fish and a sunset to knock your socks off. I woke to another amazing sunrise, to which I grabbed my camera and ran for the sea, another breakfast of champions and we were ready for another day full of waterfall hunting. All the car parks are so clearly marked you would be crazy to miss them and all paths that lead to the waterfalls are short but sweet. You are surrounded by the rainforest, you feel like you are in a totally different world. After starring in a few of Grahams home videos (I kept reminding Robbie to think of the memories for the grandkids ha!) we headed back to our wee batch for one last night.
Race car driver Robbie drove far to fast home which meant we could fit in anther adventure to Jacks Blowhole, after driving down a gravel path for a long long time we reached Jack’s bay… my oh my this place was incredible, surrounded by huge white cliffs and an open bay I think we just found another slice of NZ paradise. The beach was lined with the most idyllic batches and small houses, after choosing which one we would love to own we walked along the beach and then up to Jacks Blow hole, a 45 min return walk. It was beautiful, so beautiful I couldn’t stop taking photographs at every viewpoint.
The best thing about parents coming to visit?? Mums home cooked meals! Yvette can cook up an absolute storm in the kitchen and it was very much appreciated after a full day out exploring The Catlins. I love how homely the Kiwi Bach’s are… A Bach is the name for a sweet little holiday home on the coast for anyone who didn’t know (It is also pronounced Batch) They come fully equipped and have such a great feel to them, ours had family pictures decorating the walls which made me so happy to think a family somewhere in NZ has precious memories in this sweet little house. You could sit on the sofa, at the table or in the porch and see the waves rolling in. It was just beautiful.
We were blessed with the weather, the company and it is definitely four days we won’t be forgetting any time soon!