Driving to Southern New Zealand

2016 04 21 Drive to South Track (324)

The southern end of New Zealand’s South Island is a place of magic and we are really looking forward to the drive.  We are headed towards the land of penguins and hope to see them in action.   The road out of Te Anua is a lovely drive through a long, wide valley.  The scenery here was vastly different as you drive changing from flat farmland to rolling hills, all with huge mountains in the background.  A wide variety of trees all around but mostly very open land. When you looked at the hills off in the distance, they had the strangest line of trees at the top.  Almost looked like a military haircut-high and tight.  Not sure but they looked to have been deliberately planted that way.   Requires some research to find out what they are!

Strangely enough, we passed LOTS of sheep, some crop farming, and a deer farm.   Really.   They have deer farms.   Who knew?  We even saw a plane flying low, dropping something to fertilize or kill plants.  Not sure which one so we kept the windows closed and enjoyed the scenery.

We stopped to take a break when we saw a sign for a bridge.   The Clifden Bridge.  Not sure why it was famous but it was made from wood and it was a neat-looking bridge, so we walked around, stretched our legs, and moved on.

As we were going down a very straight and long road we noticed something up ahead.  A herd of sheep in the road!   Cool.   We finally saw our first sheep herding by a dog.  The guy in the car was giving the dog directions so it was fun to watch this modern way of herding.  All of a sudden a car passes us to the right and drives through the sheep.   Ok…car #2 goes so we start to follow as well.   Otherwise, we might be here for hours as we have no clue how far they are going.  The sheep started running every which way but the dog kept them in check.   Those dogs are amazing!

Google maps works most of the time, but sometimes it will take you astray.  We wanted to go along a coastal road but we ended up on a dirt road and then driving on this incredibly rocky beach, called South Blue Cliff Beach.  We could see in the distance a bunch of ….birds?  Penguins?…hanging on the rocks in the distance   Hoping they were penguins we set off to take some pictures.  Alas, just birds.   But we are 46 degrees south and that is the farthest we have ever been.   Driving here was fun as this time I got to do the crazy driving over water and big rocks!

Back to Google to get us to a walking trail that looks like it goes along the coastal cliffs. The Waitutu tracks were a walk-in and walk-out trail for us as the trail was too far inland with too many trees to see the water.  The parking for this trail was way out on a farm, and we noticed that they do not have barns here but have these structures to store their hay and grass and whatever for the animals.

On the drive into the trail, we noticed a dirt road that looked like it went towards the beach.  So, we said what the hey and we drove down a steep dirt road where we ended up on another rocky beach. It was very pretty and you can see the cliffs in the distance we were hoping to follow on the trail.   On the drive back up the hill, we passed an SUV coming down and there really is only room for one car.   Close driving!

On our way out of the dirt road, we see some cows that are black and white and look like cows we see in the Midwest.  We stop to take some pictures as there is a beach in the background.  Cool, yes, but we stay in the car just in case we scare them off.   We drive across a bridge on the way out and Shawn announces we have to stop to see if the cows are afraid of us or not.   We walk back across the bridge and I am saying-“Don’t go near the bulls!”    They are across from the cows and are really huge. And they look at us with that gaze that is a bit pissed off.    And kind of mean looking.   Luckily they are fenced off and away from the cows.  The cows are not afraid of us, in fact, they come towards us, so I said they were Jersey Cows-“We ain’t afraid of nobody!”

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