New Zealand, 2008

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Continuing in the Catlins

We had a little rain during the night at MacLean's Falls Campground near Cathedral Caves, but our luck held and it cleared in the morning. We left on Monday, February 4, bound for Owaka, the principal service town for the Catlins — but still little more than a village.

On the way we stopped to rest and enjoy the view at the top of a brutal hill, and there we met a young Israeli man who told us about a shop in Papatowai, just ahead. He urged us to stop there, the Gypsy Gallery. We did, and it was an old bus, cleverly paneled inside and full of "primitive automata," ingenious, tiny contraptions of wire, old watch parts, cranks, gears, and other recyled materials. We loved it, and we have urged other travelers to stop there.

Nice view, but lots of work to get up here

Eye-catching signs at Gypsy Gallery

The gallery, above and right, really is a "Magic Bus."    

In mid afternoon after just 40 kilometres of hilly cycling, we reached Owaka at last, a pleasant town, and the campground and facilities were simply excellent, so we stayed two nights.

We rarely stop for pictures on the way UP hills!

Coasting into Owaka

On the layover day, Barbara chose a ride for us, so difficult that it made me want to kill her. We rode to Kaka Point, only about 16 kilometres away, but a good deal of it was on an extremely hilly gravel road. Kaka Point was wonderfully scenic, however, so I forgave her, and we took an easier but longer route back to the main highway, returning to Owaka after 40 kilometres of riding.

At first we thought this was a cross between a sheep and a cow.

Kaka Point — beautiful, but hard riding on gravel on the way


At the Owaka campground and hostel, we met two New Zealanders, Ken and Katherine, who were delightful, and also Sarah, a young traveler from Portugal, who is a marine biologist in her othe life. Meeting such nice people is one of the delights of traveling like this.

Ken and Katherine, from Auckland

Sarah, from Portugal

After Owaka, we left the Catlins, riding to Balclutha and on to camp for the night at Lake Waihola. Our next goal was the Otago Peninsula and Dunedin.


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