But let's back up, because the drive on this bluest of mornings was a treat itself. Starting off from Kaka Point, where we're camping, we drove south. (What we call The Yikes Sign was warning of flooding, likely form yesterday's rains. One wonders how close that ocean can come without taking out the road.)
Here's a map (click here if viewing in email to see map).
See the tiny white dot at far left atop the small landform? It's the lighthouse!
Some surprising dwellings along this road, many of them modest. Are you keeping an eye on the lighthouse?
We're wending our way up and up some more.
The road ahead evokes James Bond in his Aston Martin, downshifting around the turns. (We took it slowly but surely.)
Nearer the lighthouse we parked in a lot and walked the rest of the glorious way, the only way you'd want to do it.
Soon the lighthouse pulls into view. The path up to it reminds me of the one to the witch's castle in the Wizard of Oz.
You'd have to be a very good witch to live here.
Have a little video from this point (click here if reading in email to view vid).
Finally, a generous viewing platform, which is a good thing because I'm still staggered by the view.
Looking straight down...
Our greedy eyes can't let go.
Oh, yes. There's a lighthouse. Is it a buzzkill that it's managed now from Wellington or the coolest thing ever?
The lighthouse was built from 1869 to 1870 and first lit on 4 July 1870. The tower was constructed from locally quarried stone. The lighting apparatus that was installed had come to New Zealand on the same ship as the lighthouse designer James Balfour in 1863 and was originally intended for the lighthouse at Cape Saunders. With the project on Otago Peninsula experiencing many delays, the lighting apparatus was used at Nugget Point instead.
In 1901 Walter Hutton Champion was the lighthouse keeper along with his wife Alice.
Originally, the lighthouse was powered by an oil burner. In 1949 the oil lamp was replaced with an electric 1000 W lamp powered by a local diesel generator. The generator was replaced in the 1960s by a connection to the mains grid although the original lens for the light remained in place and continued to be used.
But back to the nuggets. A lovely young woman from Invercargill, showing her Australian boyfriend around The Catlins (her girlhood backyard), snapped this one.
Roaring BayJust a scant kilometer down from the parking area is Roaring Bay, a churning mass of water whose steeps sides hold a blind/hide where you can scan the rocky shores for yellow-eyed penguins.
Our light has definitely downshifted.
We popped inside and looked for a while, but the penguins don't usually come wandering ashore until about 3 pm this time of year and it's 1 o'clock now.
I did catch a shot from the hide of a NZ fur seal lounging (at about 9 o'clock).