Next day we shifted to the Lignite Pit, a rather interesting place 20 k out of invercargill which we discovered on a previous trip. Formerly an open-cut lignite mine, once working stopped it filled up with water and new owners turned it into a wonderful lake bordered by an extensive garden with lots of little walking tracks (and some big ones). There is a cafe and a camping area which the latest owners intend to develop in future.
(Above: The front awning of the caravan can just be seen peeping out of trees on the skyline).
We went for a long walk …..
….. which included inspecting a little island, where I managed to step off a boardwalk and found myself with one leg buried in mud up to the knee; Dave hauled me out then Penny decided to have a go too! She had to be given a shower when we got back to the caravan, using my shampoo (we’d forgotten the dog shampoo too.)
This is a much wider, sturdier boardwalk (!) …
There were just so many gorgeous flowers. Here’s a selection:
This appeared to be a multicoloured broom, with a smaller yellow one growing in the middle. That was a lovely sunny day and I was hopeful that at long last I would see the Catlins in sunshine, but that night there was some rain and the morning was dull and quite cold. Nevertheless we set off on a drive of exploration with Slope Point and Curio Bay first on the list. At least till we got to the little township of Fortrose where a large sign told us that the Catlin Heritage Coastal Drives to both places were closed. Roadworks in preparation for the Christmas tourist season, probably. This is Fortrose – not much to see really, but an interesting history.
We did eventually get to Curio Bay by a circuitous route, but Slope Point was still cut off.
There is much landscaping being done around Curio Bay. There’s now a largish parking area and a track leading to a viewing point and then steps going down to the petrified forest. It is planned to link the Bay to a Recreation Reserve.
After a quick visit to the “Falls” at Niagara we had lunch at the old Schoolhouse, sitting outside in a lush green setting. Unfortunately the food did not quite live up to its visual appeal.
Tomorrow we are probably heading west. Or we might stay here another night and go for another walk in the gardens (and avoid any boardwalks).