From Cape Rienga...
Bluff is obviously cool because it's the furthest south you can go, but the toilets added a whole new dimension of awesomeness to the experience.
They spoke, they sang, and they did everything for you (i.e., open and close the door, activate toilet paper dispenser, flush the toilet, pump soap, turn on faucet, and activate drier).
Lowell was initially scared when the door closed him in without his consent.
But he survived...and loved it. I could hear him singing with the music (and dancing) from several meters away.
2. Curio Bay is one of the world's "most extensive and best preserved Jurassic fossilised forests", and home to wildlife such as the endangered yellow-eyed penguins.
We got within a few meters of two penguins. One was normal looking, and the "ugly duckling" hiding shamefully in the background was moulting.
One is ill-advised to get too close to the moulting penguins because they have lost a lot of fat and feathers (i.e., insulation) and could die if scared into the sea. No worries though, he seemed happy picking at his moulting feathers.
And they knew that we loved them...
3. Porpoise Bay was just down the road from Curio Bay, and is often a playground for dolphins, seals, and sea lions.
We didn't get to see any dolphins or sea lions (boo hoo), but we sure did get a good close look at a seal lazily blowing bubbles in a little pool on the beach.
We scoured the rocky terrain in hopes of sighting more wildlife, but only saw rocks, rocks, more rocks, and crashing waves.
4. Lake Wilkie. ARE YOU LISTENING KEVAN, LEAH, AND JENNA?! We stopped at this little tourist spot for the SOLE reason that you are our favourite Wilkies.
We walked to the lake and wondered why anyone who didn't know a Wilkie would go there because it seemed fairly insignificant.
Apparently, it is pretty cool though. The lake was initially formed from trapped water during the last ice age. It's slowly filling in now, and is referred to as a "bog lake". The lake walk shows the succession of forest development from lake edge to mature forest. This type of ecosystem is especially rare for this area of NZ. So there you go Wilkie clan. Apparently Lake Wilkie isn't super lame after all!
5. Purakaunui Falls. We took a brief jaunt to the falls, and it was well worth it. Apparently they're a "photographer's dream" (but more impressive if it had been raining which it hadn't been)...
6. Jack's Blowhole was 55m deep, 144m long, 68m wide, 200m inland from sea, and stinking crazy. The pictures don't do the roaring crashing waves justice... it was a tad scary.
7. Tunnel Hill is a 250-meter long railway tunnel excavated by hand over the period of two years (1891-92). That does not sound like a fun job...
8. Nugget Point is basically a lighthouse at the end of a double-cliffed walkway.
From the lighthouse, there are magnificent views of the coastlines on either side. A lot of wildlife can be seen here at times....but apparently not at the time we were there!
And there you have it. 8 hot spots between Bluff and Dunedin.