This was our big day. We left Cromwell and headed south to Bluff. We went via Queenstown Garston, Lumsden, Winton and Invercargill. Beautiful green, sheep filled country, I just love it.
At Invercargill it was pouring with rain. We grabbed some Morrocan lamb subs to take over to Stewart Island for our lunch. And carried on down to Bluff. The area still had the cloudy mirkiness to it, but the rain had slowed down a bit.
We climbed on board the Stewart Island Experience Ferry and headed over to Stewart Island. Foveaux Strait is often rough and has a well known historry of being a trecherous stretch of water. The crossing wasn't smooth but not overly rough.
The view out the back...water and waves flying everywhere.
Once we got over to the island we had a quick bite to eat then we got back on the same ferry and did the 'Patterson Inlet Cruise'. This cruise took us around some of the small islands around Stewart Island showing old Maori history and European settlements...which included old milling areas and whaling stations.
We also saw plenty of bird life...Little Blue Penguins sitting in the water beside the boat, and there were a heap of Mollymawks following the boat looking for food - obviously thinking we were a fishing boat.
The main highlight of the cruise was to stop at Ulva Island and go for a guided walk. We got our own personal guided walk seperate from the rest of the tourists, which was kind of cool.
A photo of the ferry at Ulva Island wharf.
Saw this wee South Island Robin that happily fossicked away in the undergrowth looking for grubs, as they do.
We saw many different birds on the island as well as the Robin. Those we saw were Kaka, Saddlebacks, Tui, with one sitting in its nest feeding its young, Kakariki and Tomtits. Its a truly beautiful serene place. One of New Zealands gems thats for sure.
Here I am by the various signs on the island.
DH and I down by the wharf just before getting back on the ferry. The building in the background shows the area where all of Stewart Islands mail was sent to. The Island residents would make a day of it, travelling to Ulva Island to collect their mail and catch up with other people from around the area. The original postal shed still stands.
The Stewart Island Experience Ferry Visitor Terminal.
We did a bus tour of the Island which was quite nice. We were taken up to various lookouts, and areas on the island that I would have never been able to get to. Its a reasonably hilly place. There is only 20ks of roads and 300ks of walking tracks. People live on only a small portion of the island, and the rest is made up of the Rakiura National Park.
Saw this phone and phone book stuck to the tree. Apparently it used to work, not sure if it still does. It used to be a party line.
Most of Stewart Island comes within the Rakiura National Park. It was established in 2002, making it New Zealand’s most recent national park (as at 2012). This chain link sculpture at its entrance symbolises the anchor chain of the Māui who, by tradition, fished up Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island) and anchored it with Rakiura (Stewart Island). There is a matching chain link sculpture on the mainland at Bluff.
I am not sure of the reason for these dogs being tied up here, but they seemed quite happy, and I think it is their daily sleeping place.
The ferry trip back to bluff was a bit hair raising to say the least. The waves crashing over the boat were phenominal, and the crew kept looking round to make sure all the passengers were coping ok. No one was sick. I didn't feel like I wanted to be sick, I was just nervous about getting back to shore alive.
After leaving Stewart Island, we drove from Bluff to Dunedin. Such a lovely drive. We could have done a detour around the Caitlins, but time was getting on. We stayed the night in the Dunedin Police Holiday house. The next day we drove north to Oamaru and spent the day browsing the shops, and buying a few little goodies for Nadia. Had yummy dinner in the Indian kitchen in Oamaru...unfortunately, we both got horrendouly sick over the following days...argh the dreaded food poisoning. It was the only place we could have linked it to, unless it was our Morrocan Sub, but I don't think so.
Travelled back up to Christchurch. We had forgotten the size of the trucks you can encounter on State Highway 1. This one spent most of its time in our boot. Our little rental car was very enconomical and we enjoyed travelling like tourists :) Maybe that is why the truck stayed in the boot.
We got to Christchurch and spent the rest of the time just driving around looking at the after effects of the earthquakes. It was very depressing driving around some of the abandoned residential areas.
Hello Wellington. Jumped on the Airport Flyer and we were on our way home.
Thanks to all the people who followed my travels over these 3 posts. I took way more photos than I have shown here, and if I had of added more photos to the posts, it would have been total photo heaviness. But what you see is just a little taste of what we did. And it was amazing to say the least.
I am determined to go back to Stewart Island. I took away a brochure on the various types of accommodation available on the island, so you never know....maybe, just maybe.