207. The Lignite Pit

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.

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(Above: The front awning of the caravan can just be seen peeping out of trees on the skyline).

0005 We went for a long walk …..

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….. 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.)

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This is a much wider, sturdier boardwalk (!) …

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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. 0007That 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.

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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.

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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.

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0018Tomorrow we are probably heading west. Or we might stay here another night and go for another walk in the gardens (and avoid any boardwalks).

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