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The Catlins, Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, New Zealand

The Catlins, Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, New Zealand

After the presentation I did at the Ulysses Club last week, I got a call from Ross, Carole and Terry who wanted to know if I’d like to go for a ride down to the Catlins.. Of course!  The Catlins is an area in South New Zealand well-known for it’s coastal ride between here and Invercargill.  I did not come up that way from Invercargill on my original ride, and with such nice weather today, it will be good to back track and see what I missed.

Good Morning Ross and Carole!

No matter where I go in New Zealand, it’s beautiful in every direction.  How about this coastline?

At this one little stop we met this man from Te Anau, the place I stayed on the west coast.  He’s not on a motorcycle today while on holiday with his wife in a campervan.  Otherwise he does ride and he offers motorcycle friendly accommodation in Te Anau (I’ve already been through, but I still wish I wrote down the name he told me.. ;-(.  A couple minutes later we met another man who just pulled in with a campervan as well, who is visiting from South Africa!  He’s right into his motorcycle club in that part of the world.  I’m not joking, it’s hard to meet anybody in New Zealand who is not passionate about riding!  I love it!

He was telling the truth!  Proudly sporting his Ulysses Club sticker, where the motto is “Growing Old Disgracefully”  Yes!

We pulled off for a coffee break at Kaka Point and they tell me that the “famous” Nuggets are something to see out the peninsula but it’s a dirt/gravel track.  I say, “That’s all right, I can do dirt!”  They laughed and said, “Yeah, but we can’t.”

It’s not far, so while they have a coffee, I take off to have a look.

Easy peasey!  I understand their concern on a big touring road bike riding on a gravel, but this one is quite safe.  Hard to know unless you’re out there though.

More beautiful views! It turned out to have a look at the actual Nuggets (rock formations along the coastline) required a 900 meter walk.  I didn’t want my friends to wait that long for me to hike that far and then to return, so I took a couple photos and headed back.

Tony loves the gravel.. it’s so much more fun when I don’t have to carry all my gear.

I made it back to the coffee stop and they’re still here!  Thank goodness I didn’t take that longer hike as it turned out poor Carole had the coffee from hell.  She found that they used old sour milk!  Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.  Not a “bad” view! ;-))

Now we travel south and I’m wondering if Lake Wilkie is a “sign”… ha!  I love this place and it really doe seem like home!

We stopped for a wonderful lunch at the Whistling Frog Cafe.  I had Blue Cod for the first time.  It’s one of the most popular fish dishes on the South Island, but somehow I’m only now trying it.

After lunch, Ross and Carole needed to get home for other family plans, and Terry wanted to show me a different route home that included some spectacular falls.

The Purakaunui Falls are just gorgeous.  I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls on this trip and I think this one looks like a wedding cake!

Purakaunui Falls

Terry is great fun to travel with.  He’s been all over the world and has lots of good stories!  What a perfect day.. thanks guys!

Now I need to get home in time to feed the chickens! I’ve never looked after chickens before.  I counted around 50 of them.  I always thought of them as being quite harmless, but not when it comes to the roosters!  They are down right evil!  The roosters would go around raping every hen and little chick as they are trying to get a feed.  They were so forceful, it would make me so mad. But I guess that’s life and how it works in the chicken industry… I just had no idea they were so mean.

Here’s a good example.  The hen and her chicks hiding out by me and the front door.  The rooster comes in to sight and you can see the fear in their eyes!!  Run Chicks Run!!! There are so many roosters here the poor things don’t stand a chance..

From that newspaper article the other day, I got an email from Howard Weir.  He surprisingly recognized me and the bike from the time I rode through Siberia with Walter Colebatch by following his ADVrider posts!  That was way back in 2010, so he’s got a heck of a good memory!  Anyway, he invited me around the fire station in Dunedin for lunch.  That was a no-brainer decision for me, how lucky can I be!??

They made a darn good meal, including desert!!  Great cooks they are. Yummm!

Howard and Dave showing me the “Jaws of Life”.. Wow!!

I take guys like this for granted, unfortunately.  I don’t think of it often but I know they are there. Super humans who dedicate their lives to saving people. What an honor it is for me to meet them and to get a real insight to what they do and how they do it.

I’m also lucky to be the proud new owner of this t-shirt. At the bottom it says Whakaratonga Iwi.  Maori words meaning “To serve the people”.

Another day, another presentation in Dunedin!  This time it’s the official Otago Motorcycle Club (the last one was the Ulysses Club).

The wonderful people of the South Island are filling up my Ortilebe travel bag!  I’ve got a new long sleeve Ulysses Club shirt, my new Fire & Rescue Shirt and now a new Otago Motorcycle Club shirt made with the thick merino wool so famous for New Zealand.. I am one very lucky girl!  And with the winter coming, all 3 shirts will and have been put to very good use!  Thank you ALL so much!!!

Ross and Carole invited me over on a Saturday night dinner party. It turned out to be quite the seafood extravaganza!  First up was Whitebait.  I’ve seen it advertised everywhere, but I’ve never had it.   I think it’s most commonly on the menu as a fried ball of fishes, but Carole makes them with an egg mixture.

I have a look at them, and find that they’re all looking right back at ME! I quite honestly had a “No way” attitude at first, but as soon as I tried it, the little fishes tasted fantastic!

A very light fish with a very light taste.  I never noticed the little eyeballs after that.. yum!

Carole even managed to get me to eat Bluff Oysters.  I hate oysters!  And I warned her to not even try.  The last one I tried years ago came right back up as fast as it went down.  She convinced me these little oysters in the deep fryer will be different.  Yep, they were good too and stayed down! Amazing!  Then she served up a crayfish mornay with rice.  Gee whiz, I’m getting full.  They laughed at me and said, but we haven’t eaten yet!  What?  The main course is still on the way, grilled Blue Cod and salad!  Lord Have Mercy. Now that was a dinner party! Even better because I’ve now tried and like things I never did before.  Cheers!

The family at the other house I was looking after came home early at 3 weeks instead of 4.  My next housesitting assignment is up near Christchurch, so I have a free week.. What to do?  Ross and Carole said, “Well you coming back to stay at our house, end of story!”

So I said goodbye to all my new animal friends…

And found myself back at the Gold Residence, which I’ve renamed the Mosgiel Spa…

Ross wants to pick up some meat at his son’s butchery shop in Outram, a small town about 10 km from Mosgiel.  I walked in the door and wasn’t sure I’d get out alive! Just kidding. These guys were great.  I’ve never been behind the scenes at a butchery and they are masters of using a knife!

I’ve had a sore back for a few days, so I had a nice soak in their spa..  It’s like being with family. Nice warm house, good meals, motorcycles and hot tubs! And not a mad rooster in sight! ;-))

Firefighter Dave sent a message inviting me to tour around his part of Dunedin, just up the Dunedin coast at Port Chalmers.  Somehow.. during lunch at the fire house, I probably carried on a bit about Sir Hubert Wilkins, the greatest polar explorer of all time.. in my humble opinion! 😉  And Dave thought I’d like to see a bit of polar history around here.

He took me to the Scott Memorial.  I won’t carry on too much, but a bit about Sir Hubert Wilkins.  Wilkins’ goal was to be the first to fly an airplane to the South Pole where he would map thousands of kilometers of uncharted territory in Antarctica (amongst a zillion other ‘firsts’ he accomplished in his super full life).  He achieved this goal, and on any detailed Antarctic map you will see “Wilkes Land” as well as the Wilkins Sound, Wilkins Ice Shelf (which has recently broken up due to global warming) and Wilkins Peninsula!

I’m really bad.  I’m carrying on AGAIN about Wilkins, when this is supposed to be about Robert Scott. The prevailing history is of two other great explorers.  One being British explorer Robert Scott who was here, using Port Chalmers as the last base before sailing to Antarctica.  And the other was a Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. They were both keen to be the first to make it to the South Pole and were in an unofficial race.

They would have to be the toughest guys on the planet.  There is no lightweight polar fleece, no Gore-Tex. I quite like those straps holding up the big furry gloves.  They look really convenient.

Captain Scott had no way of knowing it at the time, but the first expedition to reach the geographic South Pole was achieved by Amundsen. He and four others arrived at the pole on 14 December 1911, five weeks ahead of the British party led by Robert Falcon Scott as part of the Terra Nova Expedition. Amundsen and his team returned safely to their base, and later learned that Scott and his four companions had died on their return journey. Wikipedia.  The photo above is a memorial of Capt. Scott’s last message, very thoughtful words.

From reaching the South Pole by foot for the first time in 1911, it was only a few years later in 1929 that Sir Hubert Wilkins flew there by airplane.  Check it out, I just found out there is also a Wilkins Aerodrome AND a Wilkins Runway!  Well deserved…!  Amazing photos of Wilkins Antarctica Aerodrome

Hardihood from all!! (We loved that word Capt. Scott used in his last message above.. ) I’ve always got to stick in a bit of Wilkins history, just because I love his name and still wonder if he is a long lost great Uncle of mine. If not, I claim him anyway! Great history!

Port Chalmers, New Zealand

I remember looking at this and wondering which way should we go?  To Church or to the South Pole?  What a unique option!! Dave’s already been to the South Pole.  He has worked 3 seasons on the New Zealand and American bases in Antarctica as a carpenter.  But I wonder if he’s ever gone to Church?? 😉

Wandering about the port.  Firefighter Dave makes quite a good tour guide!  His family and history is here, so he had lots of great stories to tell.

Thanks so much for showing me around Dave.  Another way of getting to know this part of the world is fantastic! Normally I’d have a night or two in a city and move on with my journey.  Stopping here for a whole month has made a huge difference to me.

Back home again to the Mosgiel spa!

I’ve so much enjoyed my week here at Ross and Carole’s house.  Kiwi hospitality is unreal and these two have really raised the bar!

However, the time has come to leave my Mosgiel temporary home and head to the Brass Monkey Rally in Central Otago.  It’s a winter rally and it takes a true blue hard core Kiwi to attend this motorcycle event, most often in the snow!

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-)


  • July 14, 2013

    We became honorary members of the Ullyses Club during our trip and hope we lived up to their motto! Love your photos from those parts of NZ we couldn’t get to due to time limitations! Looks like you are having a wonderful trip! Interested to hear about the Brass Monkey rally!

      • July 14, 2013

        I look forward to reading it! I’ve heard about it from Kiwi’s we know.


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