Published: May 26th 2006May 25th 2006
Stewart Island stairs
example of the stairs on the trail. There were heaps of them, daddy got quite tired of them.
Alright, so Invercargill.
We checked into the hostel, the Kicking Kea, and got a recommendation for a good place to eat in town. They directed us to Waxy O'Sheas, the town pub. Great recommendation! I don't remember what I had, but it was yummy, and the atmosphere was fun. Very lively, as a pub should be. Daddy tried a New Zealand beer, a Pitch Black (a stout), brewed locally in Invercargill.
After dinner we went back and hung out with people at the hostel. There was a group of older travelers about Daddy's age : ), a couple of guys who had just done the 12-day trek on Stewart Island, and a few other random people. The older group played a game of Scrabble, and we just hung out and watched, commented, laughed, and talked to everyone. The company was fun - that combined with the good pub made it a great place to stay. Nothing exciting, but fun. Daddy had his first experience of a dorm-style room here - the two German guys (one was German, one was Dutch, I think) and an Asian girl were in the room with us. I said "goodnight", the German guy said "gute
Stewart Island's main bay, where the ferry comes in
nacht", the dutch guy said "goede nacht", and I said "buenas noches". The asian girl was already asleep.
The next morning we took a ferry to Stewart Island that the hostel owners had booked for us. It had a back deck, and Daddy and I spent most of the hour long ride on it in surfing position, riding the waves : ) I think people thought we were weird - that might have had something to do with practicing kickboxing moves...
We didn't have much time on Stewart Island, only a little over 4 hours, so we went straight to the I-site and got information on Day Walks. There were great little trails through the bush. We started off on one, and it came out at the craft shop of the island. There's only one town, Oban, and not much else on the island. We stopped at the craft shop, The Fernery, and got some souverneirs. When we were coming out there was a bird singing in the trees close by (a Tui), and we stopped to find it. Two other people had done the same, and we pointed it out to them, thus beginning the first random
lunch spot view
Deep Bay, where we had a little picnic on the side of the trail
conversation of the day. There were several. When we stopped looking at the bird, we turned the corner to keep going, but got about two steps because Daddy decided he needed a picture of the unique car parked on the street outside the shop. While he was taking this picture, a man walking his dog stopped and started a conversation with us. He was Scottish, and used to be a sailor. He lived on the mainland for a while, but moved to the island because he wanted to be closer to the sea. His dog's name was Douglass, and had a plaid leash. It was cute. We talked to Ronny about 10 minutes, then continued on again, decided to take a side path to Observation Rock. Went there, enjoyed the view, and came back down the path to get on the main trail again. When we got to the store again, there was another couple trying to photograph the bird, and we stopped to talk to them. They were from Colorado (Fort Collins, same place as my flatmate), and were doing a 3 week tour of the South Island. We ran into them a few more times throughout the day.
creek on the way to Te Anau
at the end of a little side drive - the water was absolutely clear
We finally started out on the path, and did a beautiful two hour walk. We stopped for lunch (peanut butter and jelly=yum) overlooking Deep Bay, then went back into 'town' with a little bit of time left before we had to get back on the ferry. We decided to take the 30-minute walk to the old cemetary. Before we went we stopped to take a picture in front of the Oban sign, and asked a couple to take a picture for us. That started another conversation (of course), and we found out that he is originally from Ohio, and she from Christchurch, NZ. Their kids live in Auckland, one as a professor and volcanist who takes students on field trips around NZ to tour the volcanoes. They gave me their contact information if I ever needed a place to stay in Auckland or NZ. We didn't have very much time left after talking to them, so we hurried on to the cemetary. On the way there, there was a couple walking up the hill that we were going down, and we stopped to talk to them asking how much farther it was, then kept going. Saw the cemetary and
Daddy and I, one of the pictures that began one of the conversations
went back, getting a hot chocolate before while waiting for the ferry. While we were drinking and waiting, that same couple came up to talk. They were from Tauranga (North Island), and were very nice. They also gave me their contact info if I ever needed a place to stay. : ) I like New Zealand people.
So the day on Stewart Island was a great success. Loved every minute of it. We surfed back again on the back deck of the ferry, and watched the albatrosses fly around the back of the boat. They were beautiful - very majestic (at least when flying). When we got back to land we got in the car and headed to Te Anau - the gateway to the famous Milford Trek. We did not do that, but did do a cruise on Milford Sound. We spent the night in Te Anau at Paul's house. Nope, not a hostel. We tried to stay in a backpackers, but it was booked, so the owner directed us across the street to Paul's, who takes in the overflow. We were the only people there, and had a great conversation with Paul, who was getting ready for a hunting trip on Stewart Island. White-tailed deer. He said that he didn't hunt - only with a camera. We went to bed pretty early, and when we got up Paul had already gone to work and left the key for us to look the door behind us and leave in the bushes. It's amazing sometimes how trusting and friendly people are here.
Next, Milford Sound, etc. Look forward to it!