Cannibal Bay, Kaka Point

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Ocean View Backpackers

Flag of New Zealand  , Otago,
Friday, May 27, 2011

Pretty good sleep but far too short. I got up 8am & got sorted then put some bread in the toaster for breakfast but I couldn't open the jar of marmalade that I’d purchased last night because of my duff wrist. I went outside to check the oil & water in the car hoping that someone would walk past so I could get them to open the jar – no such luck, Owaka is a sleepy little town & there was no-one around even though it was 8.30am. I went for a walk down the road hoping to see some life in one of the neighbouring houses but nothing was stirring. I saw that the garage was open so went into the workshop & got the young mechanic to open the jar of marmalade!! I’ve certainly never had to go down the street before looking for someone to open a jar & I doubt that the mechanic has had such a request in the workshop!

I went back to have breakfast whilst sorting & naming photos & left Split Level backpackers 10am without seeing anyone. I called into the information centre/museum, which included an art gallery with work by a local artist. I really liked some of the pieces & would have loved to purchase one in particular but money is tight (you wouldn’t think so with my continuing to explore & not get a job!) As I was leaving town I saw a house called the 'Teapot House’ with hundreds of teapots in the garden so stopped to have a good look, next door was a house with hundreds of dolls in the windows & garden, then round the corner was one with lots of wooden crafty things & further on a gate covered with lots of paua shells – they must like this sort of thing in Owaka!

I went down a short metal road to Surat Bay where a ship of the same name was wrecked on the coast in 1874. Actually at the time the bay was called Forsyth Bay but was renamed. The little bay was lovely. There was a tree at the edge that had loads of shoes in & on it!

Further along the main road was a turn off for Cannibal Bay, I couldn’t resist going there too, it was about 8kms on metal road to reach the bay but the rolling hills were really pretty & the bay simply gorgeous. I just had to go walking barefoot along the sandy beach & into the sea. The water was cold but, as it was low tide, I was able to clamber over the rocks a way & feel the surf swirling around me.

Back in the car I continued along the same gravel road & came out at the coast. I turned right & drove alongside the coast for several kms before the road rose higher towards Nugget Point. The entire coast seemed to be golden sand with just a multitude of rocky outcrops poking up through the sea. At Roaring Bay I got out & walked down to the penguin hide, I thought I was going down to the beach but it was too high up with no way down. This was another area for the hoiho but again I was too early, far too early, to catch site of them returning to feed their chicks as they do so about dusk. Just up round the next bend was Nugget Point, which had a look out right on the edge. It was rather blustery up there on the exposed hill.

I had to retrace my steps & go back down to the junction but this time I carried straight on & went along to Kaka Point. I was surprised at the size of the settlement , there were more houses than I expected. The lady in the café, however, said there are 302 residents – the other places must be holiday homes I suppose. The beach was beautiful – long, golden & sandy, I went for a splash in the surf & got my jeans wet even though I had rolled them up. There was a lovely looking café/restaurant/bar, The Point, opposite the beach so I went in for a coffee. What a beautiful view through the windows.

When I left there I made my way to Balclutha, I needed fuel really but didn’t get it there but carried on to Milton where I refueled & rang Tanya because I wasn’t going to make it to Oamaru by dusk to see the penguins. She was fine about me not returning the next day like we’d sort of discussed. As I was no longer pushed for time I went into the information centre to ask what there was of interest in the area & just as I was about to get in the car to drive off I saw a sign in a café window advertising roast dinners – I hadn’t had one since before I left the UK  & really fancied one so went in. Whilst waiting for my meal I went on the internet & replied to some emails. The roast wasn’t such a good idea after all as I had real trouble cutting the meat &, as a last resort, had to use my fingers – lucky there were no other customers in there!

I was heading out of town at the rate of knots as I wanted to get back to the coast before it got dark. Problem was there was a sign that caught my eye saying ‘whale fossil’ & I simply had to turn down the gravel road & travel the 4 kms to view the fossils. It was almost dark by the time I left there. At Lake Waihola I turned off the main road to go across the hills to Taeiri Mouth but that was a waste of time as it was pitch black &, although I could hear the waves, I couldn’t see anything. I decided to look for somewhere to stay however there was nothing for a while. I was conscious that I was driving alongside the beach but couldn’t see it so I was finding that frustrating. Suddenly I saw a backpackers sign & found the place in a street behind the main road but still close enough to hear the waves on the beach. Ocean View Backpackers is in the former Ocean View School, which closed in 2008. A young couple, Nicky & Mike, had bought it a year ago & changed the admin end of the school into a backpackers with the principal’s office being a double room, the school office is now a dorm with 4 beds, the first aid room has a computer & magazines, the staff room is now the kitchen, the foyer is a lounge area, the staff toilets were made into a bathroom. The family lives in 2 of the classrooms, one of which is a kitchen, dining room & lounge. The business only became operational in December so they hadn’t been particularly busy so far.

Nicky & her 2 young children had invited a family from across the road over for dinner & she took me in to meet them then invited me to stay for dessert. I had a very interesting chat & finally extricated myself after about an hour; I got sorted in my room & then went to watch tele whilst working on my laptop. However Nicky came to chat & we did so for quite some time so I didn’t get much done before going to bed, though I didn’t mind too much as she was very interesting to talk with. She told me about the toddlers’ aprons she makes & decorates so I asked to see them – they were gorgeous. She sells them through her website & also at markets, I bought 2 for 2 little girls I know.

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