New Zealand - The End of the Island

I accidentally drove to the end of the island today, or at least one of the end points. My day started out pretty much like yesterday, awake for the day at 5 past five with no alarm, unheard of. I stopped at the only cafe open early had some breakfast and decided to start driving for sunrise again. It was later than yesterday and so it was already a bit light and I could see how cloudy it was. I didn't have much planned for today it was kind of a if I am jet lagged I'll relax day. No jet lag ( a miracle) so I just started driving. My intention was to catch the sunrise at Lake Manapouri but it is situated a bit different directionally than I thought plus it was cloudy. I figured why not just take the southern scenic route for a bit before heading back. The scenic Southern Route basically just heads south. It is technically a highway in some parts but there are an awful lot of one way bridges for a highway. It wasn't long before I was enticed by a sign that said Lake Monowai, I turned off towards the lake. I saw that in parenthesis it had said (gravel 8k) but I went anyways. Mind you I had already stopped for pictures three or four times before I turned off. It really was 8k of gravel. I was rewarded with a serene lake that is mostly used by locals as a recreation area. I took a quick walk to a mini dam and then headed back out.

 I eventually ended up in Tuatapere where I was distracted by another sign, blue cliffs beach. I drove through town and then followed the signs for the beach. I was surprised to see the sign and thought of it must just be another lake beach but I came over one of the hills and bam there it was the ocean, the end of the island. I didn't think I was that far down but I was. I get all the way to the entrance of the beach road and it is closed due to storm damage, not an uncommon thing. I park the car and find an alternately visible route to the beach where I can already hear the waves crashing. After a short walk I found myself looking the Te Waewae Bay ( I looked it up on the map when I got back since I didn't have it with me in the car. It was spectacular and the waves were rather large and crashing in with huge force. There were cliffs and mountains all around. I was able to enjoy it for about 15 minutes before the sandflies found me and I had to start moving again, the key to not having them swarm. I got a couple more fantastic views on the way out and then went back to town.

In Tuarapere I stopped at the Last Light Cafe, which looked like mostly the only game in town. I was intrigued and it ended up being a super cute place. Great chairs and wall hangings, a nice area to sit outside and fantastic coffee. I sat and wrote for a bit. They were so nice there and even let me use the internet for a bit longer than I was supposed to. I highly recommend a stop in if you are in the area. They also have a hostel, place for camper vans, a vegetable garden etc. It is like a little complex of travel needs. The cafe was a real bonus though, so peaceful for me. I'm going to stop in again on my way back by on Saturday. The guy there told me that the ride back to Te Anau was about an hour and five minutes, but then paused and said depending how much you stop, hahaha. Boy was he right, it took me an hour and a half to get back. This afternoon I am going to the glow worm caves and tomorrow I am of to Milford to see the sound. Another great day and it's not even over yet.