The Catlins

During the long weekend (thanks to Labour Day), we took what felt like our first proper holiday in awhile. Proper holiday is defined (by me) as:

  1. At least a 3 hour drive,
  2. Paying for accommodation,
  3. and disconnecting from the world

So that’s what we did. We set off for the far corners of the Earth: The Catlins. Based on my findings in this Lonely Planet article, I wanted to surf the good stuff the South Island had to offer. Purakaunui Bay is really for those really keen, awesome, skilled surfers though.

We stayed at a lovely little surf school in Curio Bay. Nick, our host, has a gypsy caravan kitted out for guests right off the bay. This famous bay is known for dolphins. However, we arrived during the colder part of the year and only saw sea lions and blue penguins. I say only because I was counting on the damn dolphins!

Curio Bay is also home to the most amazing cafe and gallery: The Lost Gypsy Gallery. For the curious and those wanting to tinker with cool, hand-wound objects, this place will blow your mind. We went twice because it’s that awesome!

The Catlins, as I mentioned, is at the bottom of the Earth. It’s where the Pacific Ocean stops and the Southern Ocean (the one connected to Antartica) begins. That’s far. And it’s cold. But we had beautiful weather that weekend. We also experienced all the weather while out surfing, including rain and heavy winds.

We did a few walks and saw some waterfalls. There are endless things to do down there if you are interested in exotic landscape and mind-blowing bays. Nugget Point reminded me a bit of the Oregon coast, with it’s poking rock formations that Oregonians call haystacks.

It was well worth the 7-hour drive (with stops in Timaru, Oamaru, and Dunedin) from Christchurch. It’s so wild and wondrous and the perfect escape for the surf-inclined-curious-kind, like us.


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