Arriving at the Great Southern Ocean

Trip Start Jul 10, 2008
Trip End Jul 10, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We got on the Southern Scenic Route that would take us down to Invercargill. It was a little longer but a great little road through some lovely scenery. We stopped at a nice wetland along the way, managed to id some pied and some crossbreed pied/black stilts. We also managed to properly id our first Dunnock and not just make the assumption that all those small birds like that were sparrows :)

Nice Flower we saw on way from Te Anau to Tuatapere

We were now moving into sheep country, by far the most we had seen so far and what New Zealand is famous for. 45M sheep apparently, 11 per person!

We stopped at Clifton Suspension  bridge, the biggest in New Zealand. It's pretty old and was finished in 1899, so in that respect it’s interesting. I’m glad we didn’t have to drive too far off our route to see it though!

McCrackens Rest just south of Tuatapere

For me the highlight on the way down was McCracken’s Rest and Colac Bay. Once we hit the coast and McCracken’s Rest you can feel the wind firing in off the Great Southern Ocean. The sea looks that beautiful green colour, the wind whips up the white caps on the waves and all that set against a blue sky with those fluffy clouds and windswept farmers fields. It’s magnificent to stand outside and just take it all in!

Colac Bay - just west of Invercargill on the south coast of the South Island

Colac Bay was a sleepy little seaside town in a nice sheltered bay with some rounded hills around it. I reckon it’s be a great place to chill for a day or two!

Not too much chilling for us as we pressed on to get to our Top Ten Holiday Park in Invercargill arriving at a reasonable time. Probably the smallest Top 10 we’d stayed in but clean and well laid out all the same.

We had wanted to pop down to the Invercargill Brewery but we were a little late and ended up stocking up at the bottle shop with a very nice Dubbelbock and Pale Ale. We also added yet another fantastic beer to our list of favourites, the Clydesdale Stout from Harrington’s Brewery in Christchurch! Funny how the Kiwi’s have mastered the art of making good beer, where the Aussies seem to struggle!

The other thing we’d wanted to see in Invercargill was the Tuatara! We’d been told if you went around the back of the museum at night you could see them though the glass! We were treated to about 3, but were not too sure if we saw the famous George. Apparently at the age of 100 he managed to reproduce with a female of 80 - dirty old man! These New Zealand endemic guys have been around for 200m years and are a slow moving reptile – it’s well worth a visit to see these old dinosaurs! Obviously their speed didn’t put them in good stead with the European introduction of the stoats and they now only survive in the wild on remote predator free islands!

We had a smorgasbord of leftovers that evening! Pasta, curry and garlic bread all ready for our trip off the mainland next morning when we wanted our perishables gone.
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