No reception. No town. No traffic lights.
Nothing much but some bush, beach and a handful of people… finally! We found a mint DOC campground, Papatowai, tucked along the coast line with access to a beach - we decided to base ourselves here for exploring the Catlins.
What a place. The Catlins is kind of like the southern version of the Far North. Somewhat untouched; expanses of beach; rolling farmland and differently- loads of bush. The paddocks are large open plains with gentle hills dotted with sheep everywhere, the sealed roads curve around the land forms and the ever-keen hunter’s eye of my husbands’ noted that deer graze the highway. Yes.. we had to pull over to check the grass for deer sign.
Only a few minutes’ drive over the stunning Florence Hill (views out to the sea) where we discovered our ‘early’ morning runs/walk with Ridge between 7-9am was peaceful with the entire beach to ourselves. The misty ocean rolled into the flat beach, with small sets breaking so evenly over the white sand. Near the far end of the beach, Ridge figured out that swimming in the ocean was actually a nice thing, taking a dip with hubby!
The falls commonly seen on postage stamps was a very short walk, well under 10mins to the scenic and wide falls. There wasn’t really a lot to see in the area, so we carried further down and spent the sunny afternoon at the beach. There was a heatwave over NZ… but we just had a regular sunny day all the way down here! Ridge loves to be touching you sometimes... bit of a velcro dog, he tucked himself into the sand and had a snooze on my arm...
After the short walk disappointment to the previous day of falls, we went on a decent walk to another waterfall! This one is the tallest in the Catlins and a bit more spectacular in our books!
Note to self: go here on a day that isn’t so windy… we were filling in time and took a drive out to the southern most point of NZ. Here, trees grow on a very distinct angle, the wind howls from the south and makes it so hard to walk to the edge! We stayed nearby at Waipohatu Falls – didn’t go up this track, we were kind of over waterfalls and it was pouring with ice cold rain!