Catlins: The Van’s Madien Camping Voyage

One of the various beaches in the Catlins

I decided that before Dan got here I needed to test out the new van set up.  The best place to do it was in the wilderness reserve area called the Catlins.  This area is south of Dunedin by about 1.5 hours.  Located on the bottom most east coast of the south island, and defined by a rugged, surf pounded coast line.

I left in the morning and drove down to a beach called Parakaunui Bay.  I was told that this was an amazing surf spot with a great camp site and amazing scenery…..they were right.  I drove up, backed the van….after getting it stuck once…..onto this nice level grassy knoll, hopped in the back on the newly built bed, and watched the waves peeling in a-frames all along the beach.  The wind was offshore, perfectly grooming the waves and produced spitting barrels at about 3 feet over head.  When I first pulled up the beach was deserted, then about 30 min later, 4 university aged kids rolled up, suited up and paddled out.  I watched them get barrel after barrel, and ate my lunch feeling no urgency.

Cliffs and Surf

Cliffs and Surf

Stream on way to ocean.

Stream on way to ocean.

After about and hour and a half, a nice nap, and with my lunch digested I headed out for a surf.

After my surf, I cooked dinner, and gave the new van set up a full test.  I found a few things to add and change, but nothing major.  After sundown I crawled in the back, drew the curtains and figured out how to sketch and position my self for the few pre-bed hours.  It was cold and rainy outside, so this was a necessity.

The next morning I did a little road trip around the area and checked out other campsites and beaches.  I am on a little reconnaissance mission for when Dan arrives.  Myself and the university friends I have in Dunedin are planning a long camping trip to the area in the upcoming weeks since they will have recently finished exams. I found some great spots, including a beach to drive on, and a camp ground nestled in the beach forest.

I drove back to Parakaunui Bay and settled in for another day of camping.  I made some improvements to the van, and finished up some small projects.  I ended the daylight hours by sketching in my beach chair over looking the beach, ocean and cliffs.  Not a bad way to be inspired.

Sunset

Sunset

The next morning I headed to see the Cathedral Caves.  They are sea caves that are about 100 feet to the ceiling and connect in the back…..nature is amazing…it makes us look silly.

Cathedral Cave

Cathedral Cave

Walking Into Cave

Walking Into Cave

Looking back out of cave.

Looking back out of cave.

Big Cave Entrance

This cave was a big horse shoe. It exited out back towards the ocean with a larger mouth, and taller roof.

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