Our South Island Adventure Day Thirteen

Owaka to Dunedin

On leaving Owaka we went out to Jack’s Bay and Jack’s Blowhole. We didn’t see it blowing (or perhaps what we expected blowing to look like), perhaps because it was low tide, but it was impressive all the same. It’s 200 metres from the sea and you wouldn’t want to fall in!

On then to Surat Bay where we saw no wreck (just a sign), no seals, and a whole lot of shoes hung in a tree.

Next stop was Cannibal Bay. Not because there was anything of interest there according to the map but because how can you not stop at a place called Cannibal Bay? After 7km of winding gravel road I was feeling a little sick so when I couldn’t locate my camera I decided to go for a walk without it. Big mistake!

At Cannibal Bay we saw at least eight sea lions on the beach and got close to three. As we walked along the beach we could see the sea lions at the other end, four of them playing on the sand and in the waves, two sleeping, and a lone one trying to decide whether he wanted to go for a swim or not (eventually he did). As we walked across the sand I thought I should check the sand dunes, and right there near us, one was slowly getting himself up. We followed him quite a distance down the beach, walking when he moved along several metres (sometimes fast, sometimes slow), stopping when he flopped down in the sand like it was all just too much effort. 

We followed him right down to where two other sea lions were sleeping but who got up at his approach. One greeted the sea lion we had been following, but the other roared a warning. We only stayed for a few minutes after that, before returning to the car.

DH got some great photos but no video which I would have taken with my camera. And, naturally, I found the camera as soon as I got in the car. (It had dropped to the bottom of my bag.)

After Cannibal Bay we visited historic Tunnel Hill ...

... and then onto Kaka Point where we saw several sea lions on the sand as we drove out to Nugget Point and the lighthouse. From a distance we got to enjoy watching more fur seals in the water and sunbathing on the rocks.

After this, with memories of the yellow eyed penguins at Moeraki, we went to the hide where we saw only one penguin come out of the water. Regretfully we made the decision to leave after three quarters of an hour waiting, but it turned out to be a wise move given the rainstorm that followed.

I found it hard leaving behind the Catlins and retuning to Dunedin – to noise and traffic and people. Perhaps even harder is knowing that our adventure is almost over.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.  Psalm 29:3 (KJV)


We saw both Fur Seals and Sea Lions on our adventure. Generally, Fur Seals prefer rocky coastlines, and Sea Lions prefer sandy beaches. There are physical differences as the links make clear.