Before I start talking about my weekend, I want to say that I hope all of my family is doing alright and I wish that I could be with you all at this time! When I received the news on Thursday I was upset like everyone else but, it is something that I needed to know. I talked to my parents and some very good friends here and am feeling better and miss you all so much!
That being said, I was hesitant about still heading to the Catlins this weekend but I decided that it might be a good idea to help try and take my mind off of everything. The group consisted of me, Katie, Caitlin, Sutroopa, Alex and Steve. We rented a car from Rent-A-Dent and then were off to the start of our adventure. It took us until about seven to reach the Catlins and we thought our first stop should be Nugget Point since it was along the way. We thought we could watch the sunset there and then head to our campsite. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Nugget Point, it started to downpour and the gates were closed. On that note, we decided to try and find the campsite that was recommended by the Recreation Coordinator at our school. This campsite was SUPPOSED to be located in Paptowai and I say it that way because, as you might of guessed, the campsite was no longer open (we found this out the next day). So after looking for about an hour, we saw a sign that said public toilets and picnic area and decided to camp out here for the night. Although it is not looked upon highly in New Zealand, it is not against the law to camp anywhere as long as there isn't a sign saying otherwise. We set up our tents in the pouring rain and dragged all of our gear inside. Everyone was freezing and the guys tent was right next to ours. We all just tried to sleep in our clothes because it was too cold to change and our sleeping bags would hopefully be able to draw out the moisture. At around eleven, we realized that our tent was leaking on Sutroopa. She decided to go sleep in the van and since I didn't want her sleeping there alone, I followed. She had the middle seat and I had the back seat and we spent the night tossing and turning until 7:45 finally rolled around. While the sun was rising, we were able to see a small beach located at our campsite and we took pictures of the sunrise while taking the tents apart and repacking the van. The group decided that it would be a good idea to find the campsite now so that we would have a better understanding of what we were looking for tonight. Eventually, we pulled over at a beach and we asked a man who was taking a surfboard out of his truck. He informed us that the Papatowai campsite had been shut down about a year ago due to plumbing issues. No wonder we couldn't find it! From here, we decided to head to Cathedral Caves since you could only go inside of them at low tide. At this point, it was about 9:30 in the morning and it started to pour again. The head of the caves came to our car and informed us that if we wanted to go down, we had to leave now because it was a fifteen minute walk to the caves and because of the rain, the tide was already getting higher. We sprinted down and spent a good amount of time admiring the caves. They were absolutely huge and connected through the back. We all found it amusing to keep running away when the water was rushing through! After, we spent a little time on the beach outside of the caves before taking the hike back up. The caves were the farthest point that we wanted to reach on this trip so we decided to work our way backwards and hope that we found a campsite whenever the day was over. The caves were the first thing I wanted to see on my list and after that, I was really, really excited for the waterfalls! We went to Parakanui Falls, Matai Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. The plan was to go swimming but the water was a brown color and instead we decided just to admire them beacuse they truly were beautiful. From Horseshoe Falls, we traveled to Jack's Blowhole to see what we could find. The walk from where we parked to the actual Blowhole was absolutely gorgeous and, even though we didn't get to see the Blowhole spout, it was still worth it. We had a picnic at the beach located next to Jack's Blowhole and then traveled through Owaka to Surat Bay. During low tide on Surat Bay, seals will just hang out on the beach. When we were there, the tide was going down but unfortunately, we didn't see anything. It was still fun to play around on the beach and then walk through the wild grass. From Surat Bay, we traveled to Cannibal Bay which was awesome. Cannibal Bay had a ton of rough rocks located on the left and all were different heights. The goal was to try and make it all the way to the end without getting wet. Steve and I played this for a while - watching the wave come in and then fall back, running to the top of the next rock, waiting again and so on. It was fun and we got pretty far but after a while, I decided to turn around and go back to the others while steve climbed up the side of the mountain. We were taking pictures on the beach when all of a sudden we hear Steve yelling at us from above! He slowly climbed down and joined us but it was really cool that he had made it all the way to the top. From Surat Bay we contemplated whether we should head for Nugget Point or try to find a campsite. We didn't want to have to set up in the rain again especially since we had no idea where we were going. We decided to try and find a campsite but the road we were on eventually led us to Nugget Point so we decided why not. We followed the trail all the way to the poin - which is a lighthouse - and we watched the sunset from here. It is called Nugget Point because below the lighthouse there are many small rocks that look like little nuggets. Sitting on these nuggets, we were able to see tons of seals! We watched the seals and goofed around for a while until deciding we really had to leave. About five meters down the road was Roaring Bay so we all jumped out, took a quick look/picture, and then jumped back in the car. Around Kaka Point, we started seeing some signs of a campsite and we stopped off to get dinner and ask. The campsite was right up the road from where we were! The van arrived at the campsite around eight o'clock and we were able to properly set up our tent while we could all see/still feel our fingers. After having the tent set up, we washed up in the bathroom before talking and going to sleep. Alarms were set for 7am on Sunday morning.
At seven am, we all grumpily woke up. I say grumpily because we were still tired from not sleeping all that well but as we started putting away our tents and getting ready, we knew it would be worth it. The van started down the hill to Kaka Point and we got a glimpse of the sunrise we had all woken up to see. By this point, we were energized and ready. We watched the sunrise from the beach and it was the most spectacular view I have ever seen in my life. For anyone who has had a chance to look at my pictures, it was one hundred times better than those even look. I can't describe the true beauty but it was amazing. When the sun had finally been lost behind a cloud, we all took our positions in the van and drove back to 61 Duke. Now it was about ten am and we were all exhausted. After showering, it was time for a much needed nap. Sunday night consisted of work and hanging out with the crew.
Monday wasn't anything special either. I went to my Econ class, hung out with Liz at the library, and then went to my psychology research study. We are examining the effects of whether a sign saying 'take the stairs' has an actual impact on people. We have to sit in the hallway of one of the schools buildings for four weeks to collect the data. I sat next to one of my group members named Brodie and we talked while we took down the information. Needless to say, I wasn't bored. Later that night, Shir was going for a walk through the Botanical Gardens so I went with her. We left at around 7:45 and walked and talked until 9:15. Not knowing that the park gates closed at 8:30, we were trapped inside! We had to climb over the first gate (which was located on a bridge so that was somewhat sketchy) and then climbed over the fence leading out to the street through the park's parking lot. Upon arriving home, we found out that the group was waiting for us to talk about this weekend's trip. We have a group of about ten people and we are all going to Queenstown! This weekend will consist of tramping, seeing the town, and, finally, BUNGY JUMPING! We are doing the Nevis Bungy (the tallest in NZ - 440ft) and I am so excited to go!