When Hubby said that he wanted to go away for a weekend whilst on leave over Christmas, I had images of a chilled road trip from Christchurch to Dunedin, visit my Nana, wander around the city and see the touristy things that we saw every other Christmas when we holidayed as kids. Buuuut after chatting over Christmas to my parents and sisters about places that Neil and I should explore in New Zealand, a hankering grew for a bit more adventure and scenery; and boy did we get it!
We drove down on the Friday, stopping at Moeraki Boulders, where according to Māori legend (this took me back to Primary School days!), the boulders are the remains of calabashes (gourds), kumara (sweet potato) and eel baskets that washed ashore after legendary canoe, the Araiteuru, was wrecked at nearby Shag Point (yes, this is an actual place with it’s own very, very rich history!). When the canoe crashed, however, its survivors were transformed into the area’s surrounding hills, while the baskets and gourds became these gray, round boulders.* Science says quite differently, but it’s definitely a special place. Looking around at the bus loads of tourists happily snapping away, you could see a lot of wonder and awe at these strange, round boulders.
And they’re not tiny! Below are some of the bigger boulders on the beach. I asked Hubby nicely to stand next to them for size comparison 🙂
We carried on down to Dunedin where we based ourselves for two nights and did a day trip down to The Catlins on the Saturday. The [beautiful] Catlins is in the southeastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It sits between Balclutha and Invercargill and includes the South Island’s southernmost point, Slope Point* – we didn’t quite go THAT far south, that would’ve been more than a weekend trip! What we did manage though, was a day trip from Dunedin to Nugget Point (those rocks off the point are called Nuggets) where we watched New Zealand Fur Seals play in the shallows and rock pools, then went on further south to the Cathedral Caves before heading back to Dunedin for a well needed night’s sleep.
It is kind of hard planning holidays when you’ve grown up in the place, everything kind of feels “normal”. We do have plans for more adventures in the future – maybe flying into Queenstown, picking up a rental and driving up the West Coast or something similar – what are some New Zealand “must sees” for this Glaswegian Hubby of mine? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
I do have to say – though we came home exhausted, we are both so grateful to have had that weekend away, filled with New Zealand landscapes, culture & hospitality at their best. Makes this girl a proud Kiwi!