Invercargill & Bluff (and Gore!)
I never thought that Southland was a nice place... don't get me wrong, but I just imagined some sort of forgotten-about-bottom-of-the-island-farms that didn't have much going on for it. Wowzers... turns out Invercargill and Gore are pretty nice places! Maybe coz we had a great time, with some fantastic hospitality, but seriously - I'm a sucker for all those sheep on rolling plains. So is the hubby. We even thought, "If someone told us we had to move to a farm in Invercargill tomorrow, we probably would!" (As long as it had a fireplace for winter....!)
So, a couple days cruising around Bluff (that's one windy place!); having a tiki tour of Invercargill and enjoying some sunshine, we really enjoyed ourselves. I even forgot to take a single photo in Invercargill!
Cool story bro:
We went to C3 church on a Sunday, and some guy spoke about God's faithfulness before the main message. Something that stuck with me was a comment this guy made: "When has God let me down? I thought about it, and it was like tumbleweed rolling in a deserted town. He's never let me down, He's always provided something even at the last minute."
After sharing this with some friends later on in Gore... turns out 'that guy' was the brother of our friend and we didn't even know! Hahaha!!
We continued our Southland journey up to Gore, stopping for a few days at Camp Columba, to meet up with some friends from Church when they lived in Cambridge. Superb hospitality, a chance to bless them with our skills - Hubby lent a hand helping to install a giant inflatable pillow in the ground - for kids to jump on - and making a cage-soccer pit floor. I helped out with a bit of childcare and design skills on a few things.
We had a blast here, and it was such a great time of community and fellowship, we didn't really want to leave! But, the trip must go on, or we'd never make it to the top again!
Piano Flat and no reception
We toured up to a nice spot called Piano Flat, a DOC campground nestled amongst the hills. Quiet, peace and no reception - it really makes you enjoy the area and just unwind. There's a 4WD track that goes all the way to Roxburgh, we went for a drive just halfway up to the top for the views. A little bit gnarly in places and with super steep sections it had me holding on! I trust my hubby's driving, but man we were so high that looking out the window and down, probably wasn't the best idea on a particular corner!
Mavora Lakes (LOTR)
Apparently Mavora Lakes is a really neat spot to visit, so we did... it was a huge area, literally 6kms of road along the lake with campsites tucked into the trees. It's a nice spot, but won't be on our top hit-list. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you'll instantly notice some of the spots where they filmed.
Getting to Mavora Lakes was another story... about 40kms of gravel road (after we came from a 40km gravel road area). Usually this is fine right? But when you tow an '87 caravan with vents and windows that occasionally create a suction force... it gets a bit dusty inside! We found this out the hard way on the return journey - over 100kms of gravel roads - you end up with a dust bomb storm inside your caravan. This equated to 4 loads of laundry including the curtains, 4 hours of cleaning every single item and surface and reordering the shelves because everything got jumbled up! Hah. It was fun though :)