Wednesday 26th March – Part 1 Paterson Inlet Cruise

We were awake around 7:30am so I started getting dressed and packed up.
We had a quick breakfast, and Azzan helped me load the car.
We left most of our stuff behind and last night had repacked only a small amount so we didn’t have to carry too much this morning.
I dropped the kids and bags off at the terminal and then went back and parked the car in  the Bluff Lodge’s secure park.
It was only a 5 min walk to the terminal.
I picked up our tickets for the next few days.
I had booked everything through Real Journeys so got a 20% discount which was a considerable help to the budget.
The ferry was scheduled to leave at 9:30am but it was around 20mins late leaving.
It was raining a little still, the sea was quite choppy and it was very grey.P1070666P1070667
Leaving Bluff.
As we got out into Foveaux Strait it got a lot rougher, although it can get way worse than this I was very thankful it wasn’t as Azzan & I were struggling to hold on to our breakfasts.
Especially when several people around us were chucking up!
We passed a container ship – you can see how big the troughs were!!P1070676
We arrived in Oban on Rakiura.
Lovely and tranquil.
We disembarked and managed to settle our stomachs while we waited for our bags to be unloaded.
We walked up the street to Bunkers Backpackers and were able to claim our room immediately as they had just finished cleaning.
We dumped out stuff and headed off to find some food.
We ordered some lunch at the South Sea Hotel as it was the most reasonably priced eatery around – also there are not too many to choose from!!
Lovely view from our table.
We waited for a good half an hour for our very simple order, even though they knew we had to be at the jetty at 12:15pm.
We finally got our very very hot food with less than 10mins to eat it so ended up having to get half of our meals put into take away containers.
Note! They do great food and plenty to it, but don’t expect to get it in a hurry!P1070700
We left on the 12:45pm Paterson Inlet cruise
The kids chose to sit at the back while I sat forward with a couple from Cambridge we had met on the way over.
It was nice to have some pleasant adult company to chat with along the way.P1070702
They gave us a great commentary as we cruised the various islands and shores of a very historical area.
This was the base for some serious saw milling back in the 1800’s.
They took heaps of Rimu from here and sent it all over the world.P1070716P1070717
This is one of the oldest stone cottages in NZ in Harrold Bay.
Housed a family with 9 children.
We were being followed by Bullers mollymawks – an albatross local to this area.
It was super wonderful to see them soaring around us.
They came in to feed and squabble over fish the crew were throwing to them.P1070736P1070741P1070742P1070745P1070748P1070750P1070751P1070754P1070755P1070762P1070770P1070782P1070783P1070787P1070788

Tuesday 25th March

I woke before 6am.
The rain was falling steadily.
I read my iPhone kindle for a wee while before falling back to sleep.

I woke again sometime before 9am when Azzan turned on the tv.
We had decided last night that we would pack up and move up the road so I staggered out of bed.
My body was aching so bad.
My left foot and my right arm seem to have copped the worst of the fall.
We cooked up all the bacon & eggs that were left for breakfast and then I packed up all the food while the kids packed their bags.
The rain had stopped by the time I loaded the car, Azzan washed dishes and Mahalia finished her packing.
We were away by 10:30am.
Popped over to the motor camp to have a last look at the scenery.
There were a group of students from James Hargest College having surfing lessons and the Hector dolphins were playing on the other side of the breakers.
They are so hard to photograph but just know that they are there!
It was a very pretty farewell sight to take with us.
We headed off on the coastal route to Slope Point, passing through some very pretty farmland and inlets.
We arrived at the carpark to find several vehicles there already.
Despite the narrow gravel roads there are heaps of camper vans traveling by.
Some of them quite large.
I could see this very threatening grey rain squall approaching across the sea in front of us so I dissuaded the kids from heading off immediately.

They were really wanting to start walking as there were others already heading down to the point.
I said there was no way I was going to get us all drenched.
So we drove along the road further to see what was around the corners while we waited it out.
Am so glad we did because when it was a really good hail storm!
They kids were so excited to see the hail stones bouncing on the car bonnet, Azzan put his hand out the window  to catch some but pulled back in pretty quick as he got soaked 🙂
When it had blown over we drove back to the parking area and talked to some girls who had gotten caught in the squall.
They were soaking wet and had turned back before they got to the point.
I was very glad we had waited.
We had a good walk although quite wet and spongy underfoot.


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It was rather cold at the point, we were very glad of our warm gear.
Seems so crazy – last night I was just wearing a light summer dress and today I am in my Antarctic proof jacket.
Crazy weather!
Anyway, we made it to Slope Point.
The furtherest southern point of NZ.

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On the way back Azzan was singing – “And what have you done today to make you feel proud?”
Mahalia turning blue replied – “I got to 4803km from the South Pole, and that’s the closest I ever want to be!”

We drove on to Waipapa Point.
What a beautiful place.
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A very majestic creature came lumbering down the beach.
A sea lion.
We kept well back and enjoyed viewing from a distance.
These critters are not to be tampered with!
They can move fast on land and have big teeth.P1070630P1070631P1070632
Once he found just the right place he hunkered down in the sand to bake a while.P1070633P1070635
Up the beach track and we came upon another sealion sun baking in the long grass.
We passed him quietly so as not to disturb him as we were very close.P1070643P1070642P1070647
A panoramic of the reefs where the ‘Tararua’ went down on 29 April 1881 to the left of the photo.
131 lives lost front he 151 on board.
The most deadly of NZ’s ship wrecks in history.
Because of this disaster there was a huge outcry and the lighthouse was built soon after.
We walked back to the car.
But I decided to go back to see if the sea lion had woken up.P1070653
He had.
Glorious creature 🙂
We left him to his sunbathing and drove on to Fortrose.
The kids had a quick play in the playground and then we went to the cafe.
I had heard it was good, but I wasn’t terribly impressed.
The mochaccino was good but the food was basic.
The staff were friendly and helpful.
I used the internet and made some calls to try and figure out where we were going to stay and what we should do in next few days.
Gave up in frustration and decided to drive on to Bluff.
Arrived there and found our way to Bluff Lodge and after some searching I found Lex who owns and runs the backpackers.
He had heard I was on the way – thanks Chris 🙂
He showed me around, I chose a room to suit us and then while the kids unpacked and got themselves unwound after being in the car for too long I went up and had a good chat with Lex and he helped me to make bookings for the following days.
Mahalia heated up the lasagne and sausages I had pre coked and enjoyed a veritable feast before falling into our sleeping bags.


Monday 24th March – Part 2

I had promised to take us out for lunch at the Niagara Falls Cafe.
I had been given good reports of the food and coffee plus they have wifi there.
So we trundled up the road, stopping at Waikawa briefly to post a letter and then to Niagara.
It is at the old school house which has been converted into a cafe and gift shop.
We were pleasantly surprised to hear live music playing as we walked in the door.
And doubly surprised to see Jenny who we met at church and were off to have dinner with tonight.
She is part of a group of lady musicians who met here to practise every Monday.
The kids were gobsmacked to hear later that Annah Mac’s mother and sister were part of the group and they didn’t know in time to meet them!!
We sat out in the conservatory and caught up on emails etc while waiting for lunch to arrive.
When it did arrive we were absolutely delighted.
The presentation was fantastic and the food was amazeballs delicious!! – to quote my kids 😉
The salmon is smoked here and it would have to be the best I have ever tasted.
It seriously just melted in my mouth.
We were very social whilst eating – not!
But as we have been communal 24/7 lately I think we can be excused for one meal.
We also ordered frappés and they also were wonderful.
In fact so good that I ordered a 2nd one to take away when we left.
We spent about 1 3/4 hours there and if the sun had stayed behind the clouds we would’ve stayed longer.
It really is a cafe to recommend and go back to.
But the sun & surf was calling the kids so we drove back to the cottage.


The children quickly changed into their togs and were off down the beach.
The water was cold.
Azzan was in without too much drama but it took Mahalia a few runs to actually get wet!
Once they were in they had a ball.
Azzan hasn’t really had much time swimming in surf so he freaked a bit when he got rolled around by a larger wave.
He came bounding up to me and said ‘Well I just had a 5 second taste of heaven followed by a 20L drink of salt water’!
They played hard for about 20mins but Mahalia was absolutely blue with cold so we headed back for hot showers.
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Once they were warm and dry and the wet clothes were hung on the line we locked up and headed up the road again.
This time to Tokanui which is about 30kms towards Invercargill.
I needed to fuel up the car so wanted to be there before 5pm.
We also knew we would get cell cover there so were planning on having an internet catch up.
We arrived at our new friends – Jenny & John, who farm close to the village.
They had invited us for dinner.
It was really lovely to get to know them and we felt very relaxed right from the getgo.
I was able to load all of my blog posts from the past few days and Mahalia made some phone calls.
We had a delicious roast lamb dinner followed by home made apple shortcake made with apples off their own tree.
We sat and talked for a while and then around 9:30pm dragged ourselves out the door.
So cool to meet you both – as the kids said – you felt like kindred spirits 🙂

It was a bit weird driving back in the pitch darkness on a strange road but we arrived safely.
Kids got the washing off the line while I turned around the car.
We were getting ready for bed and I turned and tripped, I think of the duvet which was hanging quite low, and went flying flat on my face, landing most inelegantly across my suitcase.
Skinned my knee on the carpet, stunned my other ankle and arms.
Man! What a stupid thing to do to end the day 😦
I had been so careful all the times we have been rock walking and then to do this in my bedroom!
Azzan ran for ice and Mahalia did the comforting of her rather sore mother.
Azzan made me a hot drink and hot water bottle.
I hobbled about and got myself organised for bed.
Mahalia painted the back of her cell phone and Azzan ate some cereal.
We had a chat about how many days we have and what our plans need to be to achieve some of the things we want to do in the next week.
I then managed to get them both into bed.
I cuddled up cosy in my bed with my aching body, listening to the rain and waves.
Night xxxx

Monday 24th March – Part 1

I woke quite early to the sound of rain on the roof and the waves crashing on the shore.
I sat and wrote up my blog for a while until it was light enough & for the rain to ease for me to go outside, to take photos of the beautiful sunrise which was surfacing across the bay around 7:20am.
Mahalia came buzzing out about 25 mins later wanting to take photos of the sunrise too.
Both children were up by then so I got them to come sit on my bed to have a d&m talk.
There were a lot of issues that needed raising and discussing that had been building over the past few days.
One was how to behave and deal with conflict.
That physical and verbal attacks are not acceptable and if there are differences they need to be discussed with consideration and in a civil manner.
The other was how to deal with comments from others.
Over the past few weeks I have watched Mahalia change from being happy, light hearted & carefree to being dejected sad & withdrawn in just a few seconds when someone comments about her being so tall.
I talked about how we cannot be responsible for what people say to, or about us, but we can be responsible for how we react.
Yes, it is difficult to come to grips with your height when you are only 14 and you have already reached 154cm, but that is in your genes and it is the way God has made you and you have to accept it at some stage so make it easier on yourself and accept it gracefully as soon as you can.
Yes, there are people out there who are very insensitive and think it is okay to comment on you being tall, whereas they would never come up to you and say ‘wow you are so fat’ or ‘my goodness you are incredibly short’ etc.
So to anyone reading this, please think twice when talking/commenting to young people about themselves.
Try and reflect a positiveness in what you say to them!
I know personally that there are aspects of myself that I have felt very negative about for most of my life, until some random stranger has made a positive comment quite out of the blue which has made me look again and helped me to claim that part of me as being acceptable and attractive.
We lay and cuddled quietly for a while – it was good 🙂

After a nice leisurely morning we breakfasted and while I showered the kids cleaned up and got ready to go exploring.
First we drove to the campground and Mahalia & I went rock hopping.
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The weather is quite calm at present so the waves are surging relatively peacefully.
I would love to see it here on a stormy day!
The seaweed seems to have a life of it’s own the rise and fall of the waves makes it almost breath.
I often think as I am exploring the environment that I would like to be a more clued up scientifically about all the rocks and plants etc but then I realise that I actually prefer to just look at things through the eyes of an artist and enjoy the patterns and shapes and colours and remain blissfully ignorant about the rest of it all 😉
We drove over to the carpark on the other side of the camp and went for a walk down onto Porpoise Bay.
It is the other end to where we are staying.
There were Hector Dolphins swimming beyond the breakers.
You can just see two black things in this photo.
They were not playing today, just swimming quietly.
But it was cool to see them.
We drove along to the Curio Bay penguin lookout where we had been last night.
The tide was out and it was between 10am and 4pm so we were allowed to walk freely on the rocks.
Outside those hours you have to stay within the ropes so you do not disturb the penguins as they go to and for their nests & chicks.
The rocks are a petrified forest.
It is really cool seeing the stumps and logs which have been turned into stone over time.
We walked right along to the northern end of the rocks just cuz we could and they looked cool.
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We got a real bonus by going that far.
Look who was standing behind a large rock out of view of most of the visitors.
We were so excited 🙂
After waiting with 50 other tourists last night and seeing nothing we get to see a Hoiho or yellow-eyed Penguin in the daylight up close.
Super cool!!!
We behaved ourselves in our excitement.
Kept quiet and kept our distance so as not to disturb or frighten it.
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From there Mahalia went off to do some jumping on the far rocky outcrop.
Thankfully it was a calm day because the waves sweep in over here when it is rougher.
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Sunday 23rd March

We were packed up and away from the motel by 9:30am.
It was very grey and misty this morning.
Everyone kept telling me that the skies would break open and we would get a good day.
We drove south and had to use the wipers intermittently as we drove over the hills.
But once we got down on the other side it was all clear.
We stopped for 5 minutes at Niagara Falls.
They were named by a surveyor with an obvious sense of humour 🙂
The early settlers took their wool by punt from Niagara Falls to be loaded on to ships at Waikawa.

We arrived at Curio Bay at 10:30am.
The scenery blew our socks off!!
I drove to the camp ground and asked the shop lady where to find the fellowship meeting.
I had read in a brochure last week that there was a Christian Fellowship in Curio bay which meets at 10:30am each Sunday, so when I realised we were going to be arriving here on Sunday I asked the kids if we could get ourselves packed up in time to get there and we did!

We found the Curio Bay Christian Community Centre just up the road front he campground, a few folk already there socialising.
We were warmly welcomed by the pastors Paul & Celia Watson.
There were 2 American couples visiting plus a few local families.
A crowd of kids arrived soon after we had started the service.
The view from the windows is awe inspiring.
It was built about 15 years ago in the most perfect place and lays claim to the most southern church in NZ.
It was the first time in 13 months that I have set foot in any sort of church so today was very God led as the introductory talk was about not being forsaken.
Celia read Hebrews 13:5 from the Amplified version which spoke right to the depths of my soul.
It was a very emotional time for me.
I have felt so lost without Tim.
So alone and without purpose.
At the end of the the service Paul had a word of encouragement for me.
Basically the word was to go forward with the vision we had and make it my vision.

They have a shared lunch afterwards which we were all invited to stay for.
Mahalia was not feeling well so she went out to the car while Azzan & I mingled.
Met some lovely folk, including an Israeli woman & her son whose family are wwoofing nearby.
Another lady invited us for dinner tomorrow night which I gladly accepted.

We left and went for a drive up to the top of the hill opposite at the north end of Curio Bay.
It seriously is the most dramatically wonderful scenery.
Looking back at the mainland with Penguin Bay on the right and Curio Bay on the left and the camping ground in the middle amongst the shelter of the flax bushes.
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It was quiet cool and very windy so we drove back to the campground and they phoned up Nick at Catlins Surf School who I had booked our holiday home through.
He met us at Penguin Rest Cottage and let us in.
It is a cute wee place with a fantastic view of the beach.
I watched a kite surfer for a while and then joined the kids.
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We all just chilled out for the rest of the day.
It was a good and very necessary way to spend our Sunday afternoon.
I started cooking dinner around 6pm.
I had some leftover lasagne sheets from Mahalia’s birthday dinner so made a lasagne by stir frying carrots, zucchini, bacon then added pasta sauce and layered it with a jar of alfredo sauce.
It made enough for two meals!
We enjoyed one dish tonight, it was very tasty.P1070278
Around 7:30pm we drove up the road to Curio Bay to watch for the Hoiho – yellow-eyed penguins who are often seen coming in at dusk.
Along with about 50 others we waited for ages tonight but gave up and come home.
Will try again another night.

I was really upset by the kid’s behaviour tonight so sent them both off to bed as soon as we got home.
I was feeling really let down and just didn’t want to be bothered with sorting out nonsense.
It is good to have a place with two bedrooms for a few nights – we need some space from each other sometimes.
I sat and chilled out with a Caramel Latte and watched a movie on tv for a while.
Mixed emotions tonight.
Missing Tim’s companionship badly.
When I finally got to my bed I was delighted to find it so very comfortable with a cosy mattress topper and duvet.
I was very snug.
I read my iPhone kindle for a while before falling asleep.
Was woken around midnight by a loud beeping noise.
Tried to block it out but it wouldn’t stop so I got up to see where it was coming from.
Finally tracked it down to some kind of small electronic gadget on top of a bookcase.

I had to take the batteries out to quieten it!
Back to bed.
Read some more till I was able to go back to sleep.

Saturday 22nd March – Part 5 Purakaunui Bay

The guy at the Lost Gypsy Caravan had suggested that we should go visit Purakaunui Bay.
So we made the long trek there after the falls visit.
It was quite a long gravel road which freaked me out a tad.
I can handle dirt roads but the unpredictability of gravel scares me especially as we were on the outside edge of the road, so I was driving quite slowly.
It was a very worthwhile diversion.
What a spectacular bay.
There were a lot of folk camping and I can see why.
It is such a beautiful spot.
We went for a walk around the rocks on the southern side of the beach.
And then across the wide expanse of the beach to the cliff bas on the northern side.
A dramatically stunning bay.
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It was after 6pm when we drove bcd over the estuary bridges approaching Papatowai.
The children had been wanting to go to Tautuku Beach to swim but they conceded they were far too tired and were just wanting to go back to the unit for dinner and bed.
I was rather pleased at that decision.
We had sausages and veges for dinner and then I left the kids to get ready for bed so I could go find the local cemetery.
I meandered up a gravel road for about 3.5kms and eventually found it.
A very peaceful spot.
It was good to wander quietly alone amongst the old graves there and to contemplate a while.
My friend Kat lost her partner Colin last year and I wanted to go pay my respects while in the area.
Left some flowers for him Kat xxxxx

When I got back the children were cleaning up and getting ready for bed.
I collapsed on their bed and Azzan gave me a foot and leg massage.
That ended up in a great deal of hilarity before I was able to snuggle them down to sleep.

Saturday 22nd March – Part 4 Purakaunui Falls

We then went on to find the Purakaunui Falls.
No problem finding them – there were cars & camper vans for Africa in the parking area.
I keep losing my days – remembered it was Saturday so no wonder there were a lot of folk around.
Plus we found out later that it is Otago’s Anniversary Day on Monday so a lot of folk taking advantage of that along with the lovely weather to have a long weekend before winter sets in.
It was an easy walk in to the falls.
I had to keep stopping though as the trees were fascinating.
Lots of old gnarly Matai with wonderful hobbit holes in their trunks.

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There were a few people down in the river very focused and intense about taking photos.
One woman was in full burka and was getting absolutely soaked which was causing quite a lot of interest from above.
Consequently it was rather difficult to get any photos of the falls without someone in the picture :-/
As we walked there were a lot of others passing and I caught sight of someone who looked very familiar.
I was puzzling over it and what his name might be.
When we got to the viewing platform he was there with his wife and daughter so I plucked up the courage to ask.
After some bantering we established that yes it was the person I thought he was and we had a lovely quick catch up.
It is about 23years since John was our Correspondence School rep for our Pelorus area.
He seemed quite pleased to hear we had claimed our freedom and were home educating 🙂
Mahalia & I walked around the side and on to the rocks to get some different angles.
They are very beautiful falls.
They are probably the most photographed falls in the Catlins.
On the way back up the track were these beautiful falls on the river above.P1070104 P1070107 P1070111 P1070120 P1070122 P1070124 P1070126 P1070130 P1070132 P1070137