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Published: January 6th 2006
Lunch at Horseshoe point
Arriving at the ferry terminal at Bluff, we could see across the water to the huge Aluminium smelting plant that we had heard about at Lake Manapouri. A huge facility if a bit of an eyesore!
We caught the Stewart Island Experience ferry and and hour later, arrived in the little harbour that was the centre point of Oban, the only town on the Island. Our accommodation was the Stewart Island Backpackers which was quite pleasant, and we bagged a twin room from the pile of keys available.
It was only midday by the time we arrived so we had a nice afternoon on a little sandbar. I reached it by climbing over rocks from another beach. Lin took the more scenic route! Great to just chill out for a bit. Had a drink in a cliff top bar with huge outdoor tables. (She's not that small!)
We hired bikes and did a tour of Oban and the surrounding coves. First to Horseshoe bay, where many fishing boats were bobbing about at anchor, then to Lee Bay, the start of many treks from 3 to 15 days around the north of the island. It was also the site of a huge
Ahh , bless..
chain, placed there to symbolise the fact that Stewart Island or Rakiora, is the anchor pulled up from the seabed by Maui to anchor his Canoe (South Island) in the mythical Maori tales.
Then we rode back through Oban to Deep Cove, and Observation point (up a very steep hill) from which you could see Vulva Island in the distance across Paterson Inlet. Then we returned the bikes and headed back to our sandbar for a rest.
The following day, we hired kayaks from a strange bloke who was very particular about teaching us how to operate a kayak.. I thought you just used the big paddle thingy? It took about half an hour to kayak over to Vulva Island where we walked for an hour through the bush, seeing lots of Weka birds and a few parrots. The island is basically a nature reserve and like the rest of Stewart Island, the DOC are working very hard to remove all the predators introduced by man, such as dogs, stoats, and other rodents that threaten the native bird life.
From here we paddled back across the inlet and around Faith,Hope and Charity islands before returning to the slipway where
Our little sand bar..bliss!
strange bloke was waiting. Luckily we didn't forget to raise the rudder before steaming up the slipway!
Our last day on the island, we walked to Horseshoe point along a very overgrown track that was probably closed officially. Great views out to sea and back to horseshoe bay. Then we walked over to Lee bay and did the Garden Mount walk up steep muddy trails to the summit. After so much walking, we took the easy route back - a local in a minivan - to the cliff top bar for some chocolate mudcake.. delicious!
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