Exploring The Catlins: Curio Bay & Niagara Falls NZ – Day 167
Curio Bay, Porpoise Bay and New Zealand’s Niagara Falls!
Today is the second day of our Catlins Road Trip! We are checking out a petrified forest in Curio Bay, as well as New Zealand’s smallest waterfall… What?! If you like this video and want to see more, head on over to our YouTube Channel!
Alright so today we are going to check out a petrified forest. What the hell is it? I don’t know but you’ll figure it out by watching today’s episode.
This morning we are waking up in the beautiful Catlins and are greeted with a stunning rainbow. We do a little bit of work on BackpackerGuide.NZ and then unplug the campervan for today’s adventure we are heading toward Curio Bay and its amazing petrified forest.
This petrified forest is actually a fossilised forest and it’s the most extensive and least disturbed example of Jurassic fossil forest in the whole world. It stretches over 20km along the coast but the best spot to experience it is right here on Curio Bay.
Already from the viewing platform we can see all these lines in the rocks below which look like tree trunks that have fallen down so quickly make our way down the steps to go check out this fossilised forest a little bit closer.
We can clear see all these distinct lines which are from tree trunks which have been fossilised. And then there’s all these little stumps in the rocks as well which are tree stumps.
We’re actually really surprised at the amount of details we can see. We never thought that a petrified forest would be that intricate.
The story behind how this petrified forest came to life is actually fascinating. About 180 million years ago. Curio Bay was a forested coastal flood plain when New Zealand was part of the super continent called Gondwana. Then, the forest was destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption that buried it below ground. And over the last 10,000 years, the coastal waters have eroded the rock and slowly revealed a beautiful petrified forest.
And the petrified forest is now home to heaps of wildlife. In every single rock pools we can see a lot of those little shell crabs which are moving around it’s really cool and it’s also one of the best spots in New Zealand to see the yellow-eyes penguin which is one of the rarest penguin in the world with a population of only 6,000 individuals.
To see the yellow-eyed penguins it is best to come to Curio Bay in the early mornings or in the evening so we are not really lucky and do not see any of them but a quick word of warning, the yellow-eyed penguins are generally very endangered species so if you see one keep your respectable distance count at least 15m between you and the penguin so not to disturb them too much.
There’s obviously a lot more to do in the Catlins so we are heading back on the road going pretty much next door to Curio Bay to a place called Porpoise Bay.
See, we’ve seen a yellow-eyed penguin right here. Look at that. Look at that. He’s in the wild.
We are super happy to find that there is a little shop selling ice cream which sort of mandatory when you go to the beach. We pick ourselves an ice cream and head over to the beach just to have a nice relaxing day sat on the sand and watching the waves roll in.
Porpoise Bay actually really famous for surfing but it’s also famous for abundance of Hector Dolphins. But again we are not being very lucky with our wildlife fixes today but we can’t really be that ungrateful because yesterday we did get an amazing view of sea lions so check out that video from yesterday.
My favourite part of Porpoise Bay are the clifftops. There are amazing views that extend the view that we get when we actually take the 10 minute stroll up the cliff to check out the waves bashing and forming the rugged New Zealand coastline.
Despite the very intense wind today Laura and I are braving the elements to film those amazing waves. it is so much fun I really enjoy the spectacle of nature right before our eyes. I would spend hours just watching the waves bashing the rock. It’s so cool.
All this is Curio Bay.
Back on the road we are heading to probably one of the most quirkiest place in the Catlins.
So believe it or not New Zealand has its own version of Niagara Falls and that’s where we are right now. it is one of the worlds smallest waterfalls.
The Niagara Falls were named by a surveyor with an obvious sense of humour who had seen the large North American falls and named these falls after them.
Needless to say our expectations for this waterfall are quite high.
It’s a rapid. Oh my God. Niagara Falls. So there you have it. Niagara Falls in all its glory. So I am currently standing in front of one of the worlds smallest waterfalls the Niagara Falls New Zealand version. This is not even a waterfall this is like a rapid. I don’t really know how high does a waterfall have to be to be a waterfall because this is not a waterfall. This is just a rock with some water flowing over it.
After cracking up at what is probably the funniest waterfall in New Zealand if there is such a title, Laura and I are heading back toward the campervan and then making our way back to the Whistling Frog resort where we are staying for our Catlins exploration.
We still have heaps to show you about the Catlins and we will spend another day tomorrow exploring the area and showing you heaps of free stuff to do in the area. With all those free activities the Catlins are a backpackers’ paradise.
This is clearly a joke and it’s kind of embarrassing that this is the first waterfall that we’re seeing in the Catlins where the Catlins is also really famous for its abundance of scenic waterfalls and the first waterfall we are seeing in the Catlins is this. I’ve even brought my tripod with me I was expecting something a little more so I brought my tripod with me I was set up ready to take a photo of this amazing waterfall and this is what we get.