As we drove into Tawanui DoC campsite south of Balclutha, we crossed farmland with patches of native bush and my mind went through one of those changing itself moments. In the past when visiting the Caitlins we’ve only stopped at tourist spots Curio Bay and Cathedral Caves and for years I’ve been staunch in my belief that the only beautiful and interesting part of this area is the coast. Unbelievable! I just never looked properly. The bush is stunning and reminds me a bit of Peel Forest – for a start it feels ancient and secondly they call it forest, not bush, which does actually seem more apt.
We detached from the caravan and explored a bit of the ground between the campsite and the coast for a few days, returning each night to our wheeled little home. We drove each of the roads out of Tawanui DoC camp as we explored, wanting to find a better one to tow the caravan out on, rather than the one we had driven in on from the northeast. That one had a stretch that was winding and hilly and, being a big beast, it wouldn’t have been nice to meet another big beast coming towards us from the other direction. It was confusing as the actual road names didn’t seem to match up with the ones written down in our road map book. Still, our strategy was successful and we managed to find out, by the time we left, that the best towing road out (and in for next time) was the middle one, exactly the one that follows along the Caitlins River back to the highway. Phew.
It rained for a couple of days which was pretty nice; I think this must be the year we’ve seen the least amount of rain, ever!
The Tawanui DoC camp has plenty of park up space with fire places on the grass (which we didn’t even consider using as the season has been so dry) and toilets and a tap. Access to this camp is part of the agreement NZMCA regularly negotiates with DoC and it’s great as it makes travelling more accessible as a way of life.