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Published: August 22nd 2016
Off to Invercargill and Bluff the southern most city and town in the South Island of NZ.
We attempted to take the scenic route but ended up doing the quick way straight through on the main highway #6. This takes you right along the left side of Lake Wakatipu to the southern end and the town of Kingston and then across farmland through Dipton and Winton.Tuned into the local radio station and just loved listening to the accent in this part of the world which has a distinct southern roll of the r's. Not all r's are rolled but think Scottish accents and you get the idea. Invercargill is quite a large city at the very bottom, hot in the summer and cold in winter with winds blowing in straight from the Antartica. Just further south is the port town of Bluff. Nearby this is the Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai point, getting bauxite direct from Weipa Nth Qld Australia to turn into Aluminium. Coming into Bluff was the Maritime Musuem, a great little find, only $3- per person entry with lots of information about the early history of the port of Bluff, sealing, whaling, oysters and everything else south and sea.
We went up to the look out at Bluff which is off Lee St, up to Flagstaff drive , follow the brown signs. A brilliant spiral design with information signs showing the early history of NZ and the south, slowly climbing up to the top. And the top is windy and cold with a view of the port, Stewart Island and everything Bluff. From there keep driving along the main road to Stirling Point which is the southern most access point in NZ. Technically Slope Point is further south, this is on the coastal route up to Dunedin. Don't bother with the Oyster Cafe near the lookout, so over priced, $28-50 for fish and chips. Bluff is renowned for fish and oysters so we planned on this for lunch from a little local place. So could we find a fish and chip shop, no! We drove back to Invercargill and our next planned stop, Queens Park, the museum and the live Tuatara display. A Tuatara is the last living relative of the dinosaurs, not a lizard, but a reptile. They breed them successfully here and this is one of the few displays in the world. Protected and rarely seen or
found in the wild, this is a must see stop. And the rest of the museum is amazing! You could spend a day here, we only had 2 hours and could not do it justice. This history of NZ, the Maori, the sub Antartica islands ( amongst them Auckland, Campbell), Antartica, sealing, whaling, muttonbirding, Bert Munro and his motorbikes(World's fastest Indian), flora and fauna, shipwrecks, early settlement of the South, well displayed, informative, and free! The I site (tourist information) is also here and free wifi, cafe, and gift shop. We gave a donation, this place is so worth a visit. Whilst there I learnt about King fish and chips, proudly serving Invercargill for 94 years and as luck would have it, 5 minutes walk from our caravan park on Tweed st. We chose battered Bluff Oysters, Blue Cod fillets and chips accompanied with our Sav Blanc which we had bought in Marlborough at the Wairau winery.
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