After three nights only and a last “continental breakfast” we already leave this cosy place. We say goodby to Jane promising we will in any case stay with her again on our next trip to Te Anau. Farewell is hard because today the sun is shining.
Google Maps informs us it will take about three hours to reach our next destination so we do not hurry. On short notice Gernot decides to take the route along the southern coast, via Invercargill. This route takes longer but, like I said, “the journey is the reward”. We pass the “Dead Marshes” and the “River Anduin”. So far this “Southern Scenic Route” is the most solitary road we have taken on our long journey. We don’t see any other cars for kilometres. Behind one bend some bird of prey sits directly on the curbside and takes off when it sees us coming round the curve, of course exactly towards us. Only a full braking saves the stupid bird from becoming a radiator mascot. Seen from that close – very impressive!
Coming closer to Invercargill there is real traffic on the roads, more cars than you can count, we are not used to that any more. Out of the fiordland the land is getting hillier, then flat. It’s farmland, sheep meadows. Always names with Mc or Mac, hints to Balmoral, Braemar, Wallacetown or Stirling. Culloden Road and Bannockburn. This is Scotland with a New Zealand touch. From time to time it indeed looks like being in the Highlands, of course apart from the palms, cabbage trees and the flax. No wonder that so many Scottish immigrants settled down in this area.
As we chose this route of course we also make the detour to Bluff, the southernmost spot of New Zealand (yes, I know, apart from the Islands even farther to the South). Now we made all the way from Cape Reinga to Bluff! Stewart Island we spare for our next trip here. We have lunch in the “Drunken Sailor” in Stirling, situated just beside the southernmost signpost. Definitely to be recommended!
Having passed the metropolitan area of Invercargill it gets steady again. In the Catlins at the latest we feel like being the only ones on the road. Each car we pass we take as an event, two or three cars at the same time is already “rush hour”. The Catlins start quite flatly though very soon change to smooth hills and then to really steep ups and downs in the centre. Of course it’s me again to drive this stage of todays trip.
There is a small supermarket in Okawa, and we take the chance to replenish our basic foodstuffs. What a wonder: We succeed in getting hold of “real” bread! After that short break we go on towards Kaka Point. Our new accommodation is a “luxury” one, well – we deserve it! It will be my 50th birthday tomorrow so the lodging may of course be a little bit more exclusive. Unfortunately on arrival we notice that we forgot to put back the fuel tank cap after our last tank up. Oops – it’s gone now.