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Balclutha

2010 August 7
by rob

March 7, 2009

Ben and I had Rice Bubbles for breakfast. That’s nothing fancy — it’s just what Rice Krispies are called in New Zealand. We did top the cereal with fresh strawberries and bananas, of course. mmm

It was time for my big day in and around Balclutha! There’s some stunning coastline nearby. Just to the south of the town lies The Catlins — a large, rugged, sparsely populated area covered with dense forests. It would have been nice to have several days to spend just there, but my time in New Zealand was running out. I was flying to the Cook Islands in just a few days.

Ben took me on a bit of a drive. First, we headed a wee bit south to Cannibal Bay. The beach had lots of washed up seaweed, which looked like tangled and ratty pipes and cables. The most exciting feature of the beach, though, was the sea lions! I was able to walk no more than five metres from those sleepy beasts.

Sea Lions at Cannibal Bay

Sea Lions at Cannibal Bay

We got out of there before the ride washed in. From there, we drove to Owaka, the main town in the Catlins. We had tasty chicken burgers at The Lumberjack Restaurant. After lunch, we drove to a campground called “WOODSTOCK.” There’s no more appropriate place to visit for two guys from Woodstock, Ontario. We got some very cheesey photos there.

Two Guys from Woodstock

Two Guys from Woodstock

From there, we drove to the pretty waterfalls at Matai (or Matei?) before heading back to Balclutha. We stopped at the New World supermarket to get chicken. The chicken was supplied in a plastic bag. We were supposed to put the chicken in the oven with the bag to roast. I guess it’s supposed to keep the meat juicier. We also had some smashed potatoes and veggies. I attempted to make gravy, but failed. I think I put in too much flour. There wasn’t enough juices from the chicken (I guess they were still in the meat — stupid bag!).

Before sunset, we drove to Nugget Bay to see the penguins slide in from the sea. Seeing the penguins was easily the highlight of my experience there. They’d slide in from the rough seas onto the beach, waddle up between the rocks, wiggle around, and chat to their mates. It was clear that some penguins were friends because they chatted for a long time) and some weren’t because they ignored each other completely — they’d walk right past each other with acknowledging each other. Penguins were like people!!!

Ben said that there were usually supposed to be more penguins, but we only seemed to see about six Yellow Crested penguins that evening.

The most popular penguin viewing place in New Zealand was Oamaru (which I’d be passing through in a few days), but you weren’t allowed to take pictures of the penguins there, so I was quite happy I came to Nugget Bay! I got to take lots of pictures! It was challenging, though, since the penguins were small and the zoom on my camera wasn’t enough. Eventually Ben and I jury-rigged a scheme where he’d put the binoculars in front of my camera. After many tries, I was able to get a few photos like this:

Penguin!

Penguin!

Finally, we went back to Ben’s to eat chocolate and watch M*A*S*H. I had never really watched it before, but was quite amused by the terrible jokes. After another bowl of rice bubbles, it was time for bed again!


Rob Sz
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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