Invercargill

MONDAY, 7th November

I came back to Invercargill by plane. But I wasn’t in a hurry, so I used my internet voucher first and then took the plane at 1:30 pm (the plane flies three times a day from Stewart Island to Invercargill).

A shuttle from Oban to the airport was included in the price of the ticket. It wasn’t that far and was very enjoyable. It was only me again taking the way back to the South Island.

It was my first time when I travelled that small plane. I immediately thought of Maggie O’Connell from Northern Exposure (anyone remembers that tv show?)

When everyone got off the plane and took their luggage, the pilot asked me a weird question where I wanted to go. I replied that Invercargill! He laughed and asked again where I wanted to sit. I did a mental head slap and thought I made a fool of myself again. I blame him, though, because he was tall, young and handsome. There was only me, so I could sit wherever I liked! Almost. I couldn’t sit next to him, but right behind him.

The weather was beautiful again. The take off was a little bit bumpy, but still amazing and once we were below the clouds, the rest of the flight was like sliding on butter.

Oban

Horseshoe Bay

Mount Anglem (979 m), the highest mountain on Stewart Island

the South Island

I don’t know why, but closer to the coast, the water rapidly changed its colour

Invercargill, the main roundabout

the Museum and Queens Park

the landing

In Invercargill, I took a long walk from the airport to the hostel. I didn’t want to spend money on taxi. It took me about 45 min, but I was more tired than after walking all day in Stewart Island. It was very hot and I needed some time to take a shower and rest when I finally got to the backpackers and picked up my bag. The hostel was cool, nice and empty. I thought it would be only me in my dorm room, but there was one Japanese when I came back from a walk around the city.

First, I went to see Burt Munro’s motorbikes.

Then I looked for an open café and found Zookeepers Café. Its climate reminded me Midnight Espresso, so I felt comfortable there right from the beginning. The coffee wasn’t as good as in Wellington, but good enough to put me back straight.

The last place I visited that day was Queens Park. The Museum next to the entry to the Park was closed, but I could see tuataras through the glass wall. I don’t know if it was 114 year old Henry, because there were a couple of tuataras there.

The Park was pretty and relaxing.

Aviary

More animals, there was deer, picocks, sheep and ostrich

and wallabies!

In front of the Museum

When I came back to the backpackers, guess who I saw in the kitchen? D., my Italian friend! I was lucky. He was finishing cooking dinner and was about to throw some pasta to the boiling water, so he threw some more for me. I had unexpected Italian dinner and we could catch up on what we had been doing after we split up and he went with the Chileans to Dunedin and me to Stewart Island. 🙂

I’m posting some photos I took two days later in Invercargill too, for the sake of integrity.

Dee Street

Theatre and Town Hall

The sculpture which is actually a sundial. Can you see it?

Water Tower

You thought it was a real bird and a cat, didn’t you? I did at first.

Stewart Island

SUNDAY, 6th November

Sunday was much more ‘productive’ and the weather was better. It rained sometimes, but there was some sun.

I went for a walk to Horseshoe Bay along the track. Some kids were having fun in the rain.

An obligatory road sign

Horseshoe Bay Point, the view on Foveaux Strait

Horseshoe Bay, should be rather called Horsepoo Bay, because of the stink of the sea plants

The first living creatures apart from the birds I met

Entry to the National Park. According to some Maori legends, Stewart Island is an anchor stone of Maui’s boat which is the South Island and that sculpture represents the connection between those two islands.

Lee Bay

the Park

on the way back – phone booth, not working though

I was walking for about 7 hours and on the way back I was just thinking of the fish burger from Kai Kart.

There was pub quiz at South Sea Hotel at 6:30 pm, but I was too tired to go and late anyway, so I just chilled out under the dry roof of the hostel and watched some more movies.

from Invercargill to Stewart Island

SATURDAY, 5th November

I didn’t expect that! In the morning I was waken up by the hail fall.

That was my way to the bus stop.

Luckily, I could leave my big bag at the backpackers’ and pick it up when I return. It was a great solution, because 1) the weather was as you can see above and imagine me dragging my bag through that layer of hailstones and water; 2) I was going to Stewart Island by ferry, but I was planning to come back by plane where there was a 15 kg limit for the luggage.

I was a bit angry with myself that I had booked the ferry in Te Anau, not waiting to check out the connection once I get to Invercargill. Maybe they won’t tell you at the Visitor Centre, but the cheapest way to get to the Island and back is by plane. One way ferry ticket cost $69, but it’s from Bluff, so you can take a shuttle from Invercargill, which cost $23 or if you go by your car, you have to leave it at the car park in Bluff and pay about $5 or $7 for the first night and then I think $2 for every other night. So all in all, return trip is $182 if you take the coach! BUT you can call Stewart Island Flights one day before you want to fly there and ask about Standby Fare, which cost $70 one way and return $120. That’s $62 in your pocket! I didn’t know about that, so I could only safe $20 coming back to Invercargill by plane.

I packed my stuff in two small rucksacks, took the coach to Bluff (I was the only one on it) and boarded the ferry. It wasn’t large and I wasn’t the only one on it this time. I had been told that the crossing might be a rough ride and it was, but as long as I kept my eyes on the horizon, I was fine. One older lady got really sick.

Oban, the only town on Stewart Island, wasn’t big, but it had all that you needed.

Visitor Centre, ferry terminal

hotel, clothes shop, grocery store

Even though I arrived after 12 pm and had a lot of time, I wasn’t in the mood for tramping. It was cold outside and rained heavily every 20 minutes. I stayed at the Bunkers Backpackers with a warm living room and great selection of DVDs.

So most of that Saturday I stayed inside catching up on the Internet, which was free and watching films starting from “Boat that Rocked”, “Billy T Live” and then “Boy”. Betweet the films I just left the hostel to do some shopping and I had awesome blue cod with chips from Kai Kart.

I realized it was 5th November, Guy Fawkes Night, when I saw the bonfire through the window. When I got myself to go to the beach, it was much smaller than before.