I had a recent roadie to the Catlins for a job and I was so impressed with the wildlife, beaches (and local cafe!) that I thought I’d blog it & share some of the pics.  (There's some some behind the scenes video too - link at bottom).

Anyway, I was on a mission to shoot beach scenes for a client and I had already looked at beaches in the West Coast and North of Dunedin but couldn’t find what was needed. In one image I needed to get land, ocean & mist and I had a time frame to get it. No pressure! I thought sports photography was highly pressured.

I had got as much information from researching the beaches in the Catlins via the web prior to going down there and had some knowledge from past family holidays. However, the level of detail I needed wasn't available on the web. I was only going to be there a couple of days & didn’t really have time to search out every nook & cranny! It was really a case of picking the brains of locals and checking it out myself.

I ended up making a bit of a 'holiday' of it as I was there over the school holidays so some of the family came with me. We stayed in Owaka which I think is a bit a quirky, understated and an interesting rural town.  It's like the gateway to the Catlins coming from the North.  Fortunately for me a friend who had shifted from Clyde lived there and she was the first person I bumped into on arrival. I told Kerri about my shoot and she quickly whisked me off to meet Dane Catherwood the local Councillor and owner of the Catlins Country Store.  The store is huge offering gifts, souvenirs & a 'manshed'.     Their store is another blog in itself!  

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In less than 5 minutes, they had helped me plan my shoot - highlighting areas that I should visit including an option that was not on the tourist map.  Below is the first beach/cove I checked out as they recommended.  It was amazing with a huge seal colony and if you are interested in knowing where it is you'll need to contact Dane or Kerri :)!

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We hiked out of the cove and headed to check out some more beaches before dinner.   One of these was Long Point, Irahuka Reserve.  It was on dusk and the light was just amazing.

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We dined at "the Bakehouse  Takeaways" located on the main street in Owaka for dinner.  I knew it would be a great choice as my friend Kerri owned it with her husband HIroki Nakijima. Hiroki is a chef and had worked at The Post Office Cafe in Clyde for a number of years before they shifted.

The kitchen was a food truck, and they had a huge spacious eating area inside adjoining it. Kerri told me that they had had it privately booked out the week before by Richie McCaw. It’s a really a cool interesting area to check out - with eclectic furniture, including a dental chair and art work around the place.  

I had an awesome Blue Cod meal - $12.50! Bargain I thought and the kids knowing how good Hiroki’s sushi is indulged in this…

We stayed a comfy motel in Owaka, and the next day we checked a few more beaches including - Jacks Beach (and blowhole), Cannibal Bay & Nugget Point before heading home to Clyde.

Jacks Beach. 18th April 2021. © Copyright images:  Clare Toia-Bailey /  <a href="http://www.image-central.co.nz">http://www.image-central.co.nz</a>

Jacks Beach. 18th April 2021. © Copyright images: Clare Toia-Bailey / http://www.image-central.co.nz

A short clip behind the scenes video

More about the Bakehouse Takeaways & Catlins Country Store in Owaka

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