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Published: March 18th 2011
A Slice of Kiwi Life
Bottom end of New Zealand- sorry not keeping in touch much lately – you will get this when I can get on line- not much internet around here, and no mobile fone signals and even no ATMs!!!
Reporting From Invercargill 10th – 14th March
My aim was to get to the furthest south I could and I made it last Saturday to Stewart Island which is off the southern coast of the South Island. Nothing between there and Antarctica.
Rosslyn in Queenstown had friends who have a sheep farm outside of Invercargill- town on South Coast – who very kindly said I could stay with them- and so it was I stayed with the Duffs – Jill and John. I keep saying it that the people I have met here are so kind and generous and hospitable and I will say it again- thanks to everyone who has made my travels possible.
Sheep and a mini horse outside my windows is quite a novel experience– rams and ewes being moved about in various paddocks – not to mention the horses… fortunately John didn’t have any jobs for me to do.
And Jill was happy to accompany me to Stewart Island for the day on Saturday…setting off at 9.30am. The Foveaux Strait is notable for being a rough crossing but the gods were with us and we had the most gorgeous calm and sunny day. It’s about an hour crossing so its almost as far as crossing the Channel. Arriving at the harbour made a quick decision to go off on a mini bus tour ( getting a cup of coffee on the way – most expensive in NZ $6!!!!!) - there aren’t many roads there so its easy to cover all of the roads on the island in the 2 hours. So we toured around and stopped here and there to look at the views and get ourselves familiar with the the township of Oban as far as the roads take you- the island ’s quite big and actually most of it is pretty much bush with walking tracks. . Next stop was the one and only shop to get a sandwich for lunch – then off to one of the bays to pick up a water taxi to Ulva Island – which is a predator free – no roads- island in the large inlet of Stewart Island- got it?? We were now on an island off an island off an island- confused?? – yes we were too – we kept forgetting where we were. 6 mins in the water taxi and then we stepped off into a paradise. There is constant beautiful birdsong – all the time – it never stopped… the sea is so clear with fantastic seaweeds – we could see huge starfish the ones with long thin arms and octopus just looking over the dock as we landed. There are many walks that you can do – we could have spent $100 each on a guided your but for $2 you could get a guide book and follow the trails yourself. So first a walk to Boulder Bay , then West Bay – all walks through beautiful forest – easy paths – and lots of birds –robins, kakas, wekas – to name a few…and of course those we heard and couldn’t name…. the bays were deserted and so beautiful and peaceful and calm. It was heavenly. We walked almost all afternoon and got back to the dock to be picked up at 5pm…with a half hour rest sitting in the sun was perfect before we took the taxi back and then the ferry back to the mainland.
And then on Sunday – a total change as off we all went to a harness horse racing meet. John has a share in a horse Flying Diamonds and he was racing today- so plonking ourselves in a good spot for a picnic but also not too far from the action we spent a great day alternating between eating and watching the horses. And out lad came in 3rd – so pretty pleased with that. This is what is so great about staying with the locals – you get be be in a part of the lifestyle - this was not your usual tourist day out in NZ….and we even had sunshine all day. Next day was not so sunny – but I had a drive to a nearby town Riverton , a blowy drive around a rocky promontory and then a great little museum – to find that the settlement there was founded by a bloke from Eastbourne way back– John Howell…so I wonder if Eastbourne knows that- will find out when I get home. And then culture in the evening as I joined Jill and her antiques group to visit a lovely old house in Anderson Park- a very enthusiastic curator told us about the house , its furnishings and the art work hanging there. I know nothing about NZ artists – so it was good to see their works here.
So a few days in Invercargill gave me a slice of the natural world, a sporting event and Southland culture. Can’t be bad!!!
Thanks to Jill and John for a lovely warm welcome to their home.
Next stop The Catlins.
Sorry lost my connection at the library - and so now I can only post without fotos - will get them on here next time I hope.
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