Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
28Trip End Mar 03, 2007
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After the car turned over we sped down the highway between Invercargill and Bluff on a slighly overcast day after stopping to give the car some more juice and before we knew it we were on board the Stewart Island Experience speeding at 23 knots towards Nz's third largest Island after the two big ones.
The ride over took about an hour and didn't churn the stomach too much. Managed to pass the time by drinking tea and drawing on Gareth when he was trying to sleep. Aftr Passing the Muttonbird Islands we pulled into Port and clambered into Oban, the main township. The first local we met was a seal sunbathing on the beach, who only moved to snap at the flies who were giving him grief.
Oban seemed a pretty chilled out place and we were already eyeing up the local pub the 'South Sea Hotel'. We footed it to the local back packers and to no surprise were told it was booked up. We had brought a tent just in case but none of us fancied being squeezed four to a tent. After a few quick phonecalls we were sent up a very steep hill to a locals house with extra rooms called 'the view' and what a view it had! Sweeping views over Oban and Halfmoon Bay.
No sooner had we dropped our belongings off, we were back off down to the pub all with a taste for the beer. We pretty much spent the day here drinking jugs of speights and playing pool untill late afternoon. Had a bit of a chuck around with the frisbee to wear off the effects of the booze before a quick nap and a shower later on. Then we set off to the 'Kai Kart' to grab an awesome feed of fresh Fish n Chips. Pretty pricey by New Zealand terms but prehaps the lushest I've had anywhere. I managed to chew my way through some fresh cod, chips and some mouthwatering crumbed mussles. The it was back of down the pub to wittle away the rest of the night playing more pool and getting sloshed.
The next day we woke early enough to pretty overcast conditions, however we were all up for seeing a bit of what Stewart Island had to offer. We set up over the hill to Golden Bay to catch a $2 ferry to Ulva Island passing by a Kiwi crossing on one of the winding roads. We arrived an hour or so beofre the ferry was set to leave so ventured onto the calm secluded beach and went for a short bush walk, with loads of Kaka (NZ Parrott) and Tui's flying above. We then backtracked to the wharf where we found out the ride was a step $20 return and the $2 was actually for the shuttle form halfmoon bay to here. The boat trip is only 5 minutes each way and they can take 9 people each trip and they do multiple trips. We figgured they make about $360 in less than 20 minutes a bit of a rip off.
We decided to flag the Island and do some bush walks instead. We took and hour long route through awesome costal bush with lush ocean views that looped back around to Oban. After a quick stop for lunch we headed up the otherside of the bay to a little cafe Resteraunt I had discovered the other day. This place was in super chill mode sitting upon the hill overlooking the entrace to Halfmoon bay. We drunk some giant coffees, whilst sitting on giant picnis table and enjoyed the rays of the sun that had sprung to life.
After a burst of energy we jumped on to the beach and then walked along the road to Horseshoe Bay about 2km form Oban. Here not knowing what we were getting ourselves into took a looping track around the headland that went for a further 3.5 kms, first along rugged pine infested cliffs and then leading into more lush bush. Eventually knackered we arrived back in Oban in time to grab out bags, get a another feed of crumbed mussles from the Kai Kart and then jump on the ferry for the crossing back to Bluff.
By this stage I had discover that my face was burnt to a crisp with two massive panda eyes where I had been wearing my shades. Bugger! The ferry crossing was a bit rough and a few people lost their lunch. Team Welsh were sitting on different seats to Mark and Myself and the lady behind had been throwing up all the way back while they slept. Mark and I had our fingers crossed she was going to spew on the them, cruel but funny. At one point she was holding her sick filled back inches from gareths head.
Back on dry land we picked up the car which someone had skillfully managed to backed into leaving a small amount of white paint on the bumber. We left and pushed back into Invercargil to catch up with Kevin who had made his own way down from Dunedin, before heading back to camp for a feed, a few beers and bed time.
The next day I had to drop Mark off at the bus station as he was heading back to Dunedin to spend some time with his family beofore heading back over to the Gold Coast where I will be visiting after my time in NZ. After the bus left I walked into the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. I was hoping to see the Tuataras in their enclosure. Tuatara's are ancient reptiles unique to these lands and closly related to the dinosaurs. Unfortunatley they were sleeping inside and not willing to entertain me.
Got back to the campsite where the other two still weren't up, up bit like the Tuatara's at the museum. When they eventually did rise we went into town to get some shopping done and Gareth got his beloved hair washed, cut and styled. We then went onto the movies and watched the rubbish animated Pengiun movie Happy Feet before going back to the campsite to chill out. The next morning Lian decided to get her hair done as well and so after this we were off again.