Moody and introverted, that’s coastal Otago. Summer or winter, seasons can be indistinguishable when the wind blows up from the sea. Down on the coast the autumn air has absorbed it’s fill of the Pacific Ocean. Gutsy rivers unwind and relax into lazy estuaries where the flow meets resistance from an incoming tide.
We are staying at a pretty estuary village, on the east coast of Otago, called Karitane. This is as far south as we will go. The city of Dunedin huddles just over the hill and deserves it’s own mention – later.
We are staying in Karitane for five days and this means we won’t have to pack up or drive anywhere for a while. Instead we walk, talk, play a game of tag and hide ‘n’ seek, slide down slides, try out the see-saw, eat and drink, dry our washing by the fire and read. Our holiday will soon be over.
We go for a walk to Johnny Jones Cottage at Waikouaiti – a beach on the northern bank of the estuary. (The whole of Otago is rich in colonial history.)
Imagine the blurb on the Bookabach site for this one! “Need to get away from it all? Then batten down your hatches at Johnny Jones hut. These quaint quarters offer impressive views. If you wish to experience the privations of early settlers then this is home away from home for you.”
The following is written of Johnny Jones at Te Ara Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand.: “All feared his ungovernable and impetuous temper, yet he was known to be generous, and kindly towards women and children. Temperate in his habits and scrupulously fair in his dealings, he was a unique product in a pioneer society.”
Our Bookabach cottage is well equipped for inclement weather. There is dry firewood at the ready.
The mornings here are tranquil but by around 1:30pm the wind shows it’s face: demanding, contrary and very cold. Yet the evidence out back, the up-turned canoe, the outdoor pizza oven, even the bare picnic tables, speak of summers past. Having spent some years exploring coastal Otago I know summer does visit East Otago, but that’s just it: Summer is a visitor here.
Tea anyone? There is plenty of it.