It’s 12/12/12 here in NZ. Some idle thoughts:

·      On the Otago Peninsula the speed limit is mostly 80 km/hr but the roads are so narrow and twisting that it’s really hard to go over about 35 or 40.
·      This is hay season in the south. Saw lots of hay being cut or already baled. They wrap round bales in blue plastic to keep it from the weather.
·      Our new non-alcoholic drink of choice is ginger beer.
·      We have never used the GPS really until today when we got lost about 15 minutes away from our B&B.
·      I think they put eggs on everything. You get a fried egg on a salad on steak on a hamburger.
·      Country and Western music is very popular in NZ. You hear it in lots of cafes and pubs.
·      Bette Midler’s “Ukulele Lady” keeps passing through my brain. I him it constantly for some reason.
·      On the trip with the three ladies, Pat and Barbie do the navigation and I just go where they tell me to. I really haven’t looked at a map at all.
·      The ladies take tons of pictures while we’re moving. There is clicking all around me during our drives.
·      I brought my new Kindle with me for reading and for the two NZ tour books I bought and loaded on it. It has never been on. That includes the flights over here.
·      When an group orders food at a café or even a good restaurant and it’s time to pay, you just take the check for the table up to the cashier, tell him/her what you had , and pay individually. It’s no problem anywhere.

Today we left Larnach Castle arount 8:30. It’s a really nice place to stay and a nice break from the motels we’ve been in. We headed down south along the Pacific coast. We followed the Southern Scenic Route (off the main highways) and even went on smaller roads, many just gravel, and most winding up and down and around. This region is the Catlins.

First stop was Kaka Point and its accompanying town. Low tide, beautiful beach shots, and a view of Nugget Point and its lighthouse, our next stop. It’s a steep climb up to the lighthouse from the car park. You end up over beautiful rocks. There are colonies of spoonbills and we saw some fur seals. Gorgious.

Then we stopped in the town of Owaka where I picked up a bacon and egg panini with some chili relish. The ladies planned to eat PB&J from supplies bought earlier. We ate on a picnic bench at the car park for Purakaunui Falls. Then we walked through a lovely rain forest to the falls for pix. We had wanted to go to another falls, much bigger, but there had been a rock slide on the trail and it was closed.

Last stop was Curio Bay. We had gone there to see the whole shoreline where the “rocks” are a petrified forest from eons ago. We say that, but also a yellow-eyed penguin waddled ashore to her nest. They are rare and usually you can only see them coming ashore at night.

Then it was a winding drive to our B&B (a farm stay) north of Invercargill. Got in about 5:00. We drove over 250 km today. Went into the city for a nice dinner and then back for an early night.

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