We looked back on the high and very flat Table Hill where the Matai Falls and Historic Rail Trail sat on its lower flanks until we were nearly in Papatowai when it fell out of our sight.
The drive into Papatowai was truly lovely, with the bush and marshes only becoming more attractive by the kilometre. By the time we reached the bridge across the huge sandy Tahakopa River we were looking for a place to stay. We ended up by the beach at the Picnic Ground and over a sandwich and cuppa I read in the NZMCA magazine that there was a DoC campsite right in the village – I felt like an idiot as we must have driven right past it! Sure enough, there it was on our way back through the village, behind the shop, with a huge sign at the entrance!
Papatowai? – papa means earth, and towai is the name of a native tree that belongs in Northland, so I couldn’t figure out why it was used to name this village way down here in Southland – I’ve missed the point somewhere along the line!