Catlins Trip: Lake Wilkie & Cathedral Caves – Day 168
The Catlins Road Trip Continues!
Today we are checking out MORE things to do in The Catlins with Lake Wilkie and Cathedral Caves! If you like this video and want more inspiration for your NZ bucket list, jump on over to our YouTube Channel!
Today we are going to be exploring one of the world’s longest sea caves.
This morning we are hitting the road super early. Woo Robin’s got a brand new ride. Hell yeah, Subaru whatever. So nikki at the Whistling Frog let us borrow her car cos we are going today to Wilkie Lake and Cathedral Cave and there is no way our campervan is making its way all the way up Cathedral Cave.
Because of the tide we can only go to cathedral cave today around 3.30pm but beforehand we have organised an awesome activity and it’s called Lake Wilkie.
So we’re just penetrating the forest right now we are making our way to Lake Wilkie which is known to be one of the most reflective lakes in New Zealand. It’s a hidden gem in The Catlins that a lot of people overlook. So we really want to take the time to show it you so we set off early and added that to our itinerary today.
We are instantly distracted by this amazing forest that we’re walking in right now. There’s all these trees with really intricate markings on them and we do also spot a few trees with gaping holes in them. This makes for some pretty fun pictures. the forest that we’re walking in is a podocarp forest and we’re actually learning a lot about it thanks to all these information panels that you can read along the way. Along the track there’s a few really awesome viewpoints of Lake Wilkie which I go to extreme lengths to get a good photo of. And then we are continuing all the way downhill as we make our way toward the lake.
On the side of the track we find even more signs telling us about the vegetation succession as we get closer to the lake as we make our way from uphill to a lowland lake level.
But obviously the main draw card of Lake Wilkie Walk is Lake Wilkie itself. It is a superbly picturesque lake. It is super reflective because of all the dark tannin falling and the surrounding lush New Zealand native bush is ma,ing it look picture perfect.
Lake Wilkie was formed about 13,000 years ago after the last ice age and used to be absolutely gigantic but its size shrunk to the size that it is right now which is only 1.75 hectares. Lake Wilkie is bog type of lake. this is a very rare type of lake which has a very intricate ecosystem being home to very rare species of animals.
Which is really awesome to find right here in the Catlins almost very close to the coast itself.
The lake is also home to a species called the Whistling Tree Frog not to mention all the sounds of the birds that we can hear surrounding us in the forest as we make our way back along the track which returns to car park of Lake Wilkie.
And I have to say that the track is super well maintained. it’s super wide well gravelled and it’s even wheelchair accessible.
So we are making our way back uphill toward the car park where we’re gonna be heading to our next activity of today which is cathedral Caves which is only available to get to at low tide like we said before. But first we need to pay a road user charge which is about 5 dollars in cash.
She’s paying the lady with my money. Ok so it is a 1km walk down to the beach. It’s quite a steep walk to get to the bottom turn left and couple of 100 metres across the beach. Ok. Cos it’s windy today you might find a bit of water still in the cave.
Someone at the beginning of a track giving you some tips? It’s awesome. We want to see that more often.
So we are now on our way to Cathedral Caves where we are gonna be taking the most amazing cave pictures. Ooo ahhh, eee.
The walk down is really well maintained by quite steep which makes us really feel that it’s gonna be quite a hard one coming back on the way up. It’s the funny thing about one way hikes. It always much easier one way rather than the other.
And in no time at all we are reaching the beach that we are gonna be walking alongside to reach Cathedral caves.
The thing to note about Cathedral Caves is that you can only access it between October and May and the access is limited to two hours before low tide and one hour after. You can’t even get down the Cathedral Caves road unless the fence is over so just so you’re aware.
We arrive at Cathedral Cave and we are amazed by this huge entrance. And we can see definitely why this place has been named Cathedral caves but it’s also been named that because the acoustics here are meant to be amazing so I try it out.
This cave is absolutely huge. It’s been formed by sandstone which has been eroded by the erosive power of the waves. And there’s actually two different entrances to get into the caves.
And because it feels like every single walk that we do in New Zealand has to involve some kind of wildlife we do find a really weird intricate insect roaming on the walls of the caves.
One of the very interesting facts about this sea cave is that Cathedral caves is actually U shaped making it two entrances and one of them is much closer to the water than the other.
When trying to take pictures of the second entrance of the caves the waves are kind of playing up a little bit with us and making our work very very very hard. So we are trying to play with the waves so we are going back and forth trying to take some pictures and film a little bit around.
Cathedral Caves is actually one of the longest sea caves known in the world which is quite interesting because it’s really not a huge sea cave. The whole cave is only about 200m long which means that you can walk around both entrances of the cave and the whole inside of the cave only within about 5 minutes.
Which makes it a perfect pitstop for a Catlins Road Trip. And this is exactly what we did today and awesome Catlins Road trip to show you guys there is so much to do in the Catlins and tomorrow we are doing another Catlins road trip and you know what? The day after we’re doing another one.
So we’re just penetrating the forest. Oh yeah. Flipping hell, Laura, you have to make everything dirty don’t you?