One of the last to leave the overnight spot at Clifton car park, again we set off for Invercargill. This time we were determined to get there. A Liquid Launderette was what we wanted, and although we did most of what I call 'the smalls washing' yesterday, today we wanted to freshen up all the bedding. Trouble was those brown finger signpost showed interesting places to visit as we drove along the highway which kept distracting our purpose. We came to McCracken's Rest lookout over Te Waewae Bay. The name intrigued us, and as we pulled into the car park, a yellow finger post pointing in all manner of directions (similar to that of Bluff) was the most prominent feature.
On a clear day the tiny one million-year-old Solander Islands, formed by the eroded skeleton of a volcano, could be seen. According to Maori legend, the Solanders are the broken tooth and crumbs tossed aside by Kewa the whale, when it chewed between Stewart Island (Rakiura) and the mainland. Nothing to be seen today though, too much cloud and mist obscuring our view.
Just a short drive further and another brown signpost, this time to Gemstone beach. "Fancy finding some Gemstones"? I enquired. We did no more than follow the signs. The surf has been known to wash up semi-precious gems such as garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite and because the beach constantly changes from sand to stones after storms and tides, Gems have often been found amongst the coloured rocks.
A short sandy ramp led the way to the beach. I looked for gemstones, so did Ian, we didn't find any, so I went paddling instead.
Onward again and not 5 minutes along the road and yet another brown sign. This time to Monkey Island near Orepuki. If anyone wonders why it is called that it is thought to stem from the monkey winch used to haul the boats ashore. At low tide one can walk across to the island. We tried in 2020 and failed because the tides were wrong and guess what...they were also wrong today.
Now surely we could continue on to Invercargill. But oh no...Cosy nook, 3 km off the main drag just had to be visited. Crikey at this rate we will never get to Invercargill.This picturesque rocky cove shelter several fishing boats and holiday batches. It is also an important cultural and historical Maori settlement site. The name came from the Bluff harbourmaster (George Thompson) after Cosy Nuek, his village in Scotland.
This was to be the last of our impromptu excursions, we decided then and there we would do no more exploring. Time was getting on, and we had to get to our destination. But then we reached Riverton. First thing we spied was the locomotive, groan we could not drive through that town without seeing it. What a lovely place with a fabulous church and harbour. Not stopping would have been sacrilege.
And before we left a late lunch was had at the Rocky Beach Riverton.
Finally we arrived at Invercargill. Liquid Laundrette was found, bedding and towels washed, and then it was plan for where we would stop overnight. Would you believe there were no freedom campsites, or DOC sites in Invercargill! A NZMCA came up, but I prefer sites with toilets and tquite a few of the NZMCA places are just overnight stopovers with no facilities. There was nothing for it but to drive 29 km back along the highway to a place called Aparima Thornbury campsite. Its fabulous, so far only two vans are here and we could pick our spot. The loo is a long drop but what a fabulous way to make what is usually very unattractive, attractive.
And seen on route
This worried me. I wondered if a wasp had built its nest in the Toy's bumper.