Nugget Point, The Catlins, South Island, New Zealand

Posted by barbara on February 12, 2014

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The walking track to the Nugget Point lighthouse and lookout is both scenic and exhilarating, offering wonderful views to the north along the south eastern coast of the South Island.

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The unmanned lighthouse part obscures our destination, namely the Nuggets.

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There are steep drop offs along the way, giving excellent vantages over the rocks below, including sea bird rookeries, with gannets, Royal Spoonbills, albatrosses and penguins at home around the point.

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New Zealand Flax flanks the slops of Nugget Point, framing the array of eroded sea stacks that were once part of the promontory.

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Make sure you take a long range lens and/or a good pair of binoculars to get the most out of the diverse wildlife that call the point home, at least for part of the year. Fur seals lounge around on the rocks below the access track, clearly visible with the naked eye.

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Looking south from the track, it's mesmerising to watch the waves breaking waves on the thick beds of kelp.

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Yellow-eyed Penguins breed around the point and can be seen by day returning from their fishing expeditions to feed their young in nests under the flax plants.

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It's not hard to see why this spectacular landform earned the name of Nugget Point. And what an apt name considering that hundreds of miners from California and the Australian colony of Victoria flocked to the Central Otago Region in the 1860s in search of gold, preferably of the nugget, rather than dust, variety.

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