As the sign says, Invercargill is a very friendly city. The 'arsehole' maybe bacause Invercargill is at the bottom of the world but the popular reason is credited to Mick Jagger following a visit to the city in 1965 by the Stones. Apparently, the good folks of Invercargill were not impressed by Mick's pouting and strutting and demonstrated this by pelting the group with tomatoes etc.. which did not go down too well with Mick who called the city 'the arsehole of the universe' and vowed never to return!
The 'city' is made up of wide streets on a grid system which means it is easy to navigate and not get lost.
The combination of a variety of plants and trees together with no two houses being identical leads to most of the roads being very attractive.
The road between our house and the hospital, which leads one way to the Southern Scenic Route and the other to the estuary and Bluff, is about as wide as one side of the M25 but virtually no cars. We have just about got used to leaving only 5-10 mins (literally) before we need to be anywhere in the city.
There is a good variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. The shops vary from a slightly upmarket department store (H.J. Smith) to the $2 shop which has added to our kitchenware consisiderably for just a few pounds. Plenty of good coffee - including the most southerly Starbucks in the world. We've eaten out 3 times and the food is excellent - good fresh ingredients and plenty of it. One main course is often enough for two! Quite popular to start whilst waiting for the mains is what is described as 'breads with herb or garlic butter' and is generally a whole loaf of some sort, with a bread knife and large pot of butter for about $6 or so. Certainly one to share! Like the US, as soon as you sit down you get a jug of tap water.
There is a very large park in the centre of the city - Queens Park - with plenty of walks, huge variety of plants and trees and has the Museum and Art Gallery together with the iSite (touist office where you can have a snack, pick up brochures, book tours and trips as well as theatre and cinema seats etc).
In the gallery is the Tuatara House with Henry who is over 100 years old and has just fathered 11 eggs, which should hatch whilst we are here. More about Tuataras another time.
The Estuary is at the end of our road as a circular walk on gravel and boardwalk and is about 3 miles so ideal for a short walk in the late afternoon/early evening. To one side you see Bluff in the distance and the other way the snow capped mountains on the way to Queenstown.
There are over 100 Black Swans on there - mostly in pairs and two of which so far have families of cygnets (one with 2 and one with 4).
There are loads of birds and waders - skylarks every few yards, herons, and lots of other birds we have no idea what they are and are going to buy a book oof NZ birds to help us out.
Guide to NZ life No. 5:
Local shops are called a 'Dairy' - they are small but packed with goods and sell everything you might need and open quite long hours.
No. 6: There is no love lost betwen the North Islanders - particularly those who live in Auckland - and the Southerners. The Southerners call someone from Auckland a Jafa - just another fucking Aucklander!