Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Otago, Southland, Fiordland (New Zealand)

Bluff, Invercargill, Te Anau

The ferry back from Stewart Island was more fun than the trip out had been, perhaps because it was calmer. There were good views of Stewart Island and the Prince Edward (Muttonbird) Islands out the back, and of mollymawks and shearwaters soaring above the waves.

the Muttonbird Islands from the ferry

Stewart Island from Bluff

Tiwai aluminium smelter

At Bluff we picked up the car then drove out to Foveaux Point and then to the top of the bluff. There were great views - across Foveaux Straight at Stewart Island, of the giant Tiwai Point aluminium smelter just across from Bluff, and of the peninsual joining Bluff to the mainland.

In Invercargill we ended up back in the Heritage Court Motel. We showered, put a load of washing into the washing machine, and went into town. I had my photos so far - some 300MB - put onto CD and sent off a brief email and blogged a brief note to let everyone know I was ok. I accompanied that with a smaller version of this fur seal photo. [Weirdly, I couldn't connect to the University of Sydney at all - no route - so I telneted to my webserver in the US and back to Sydney Uni from there!]

While I was doing that, Camilla used a public phone to book somewhere to stay in Te Anau the following night - and was attacked by insects. We went back to the motel to put our clothes into dryer, then came back and found a restaraunt, where I had an excellent grilled fish sole. Then we went to the supermarket and bought food for the Kepler Track.

Friday 7th February

We got up around 8, got our washing, had breakfast, and packed - we'd unpacked pretty much everything the previous night, so the place was a mess, but we just bunged it all in the car. Then we visited the Southland Museum, which had decent natural history exhibits, including a live tuatara display, some nice photographic exhibitions, and an Antarctic display. We filled up with petrol and then set off for Te Anau - taking the "Southern Scenic Route" rather than the direct route through Gore.

a Tuatara in Southland Museum

Riverton church

hay bundles, with Te Wae Wae Bay and southern Fiordland behind

We stopped in Riverton for lunch, then at McCrackens Lookout for a view of Te Wae Wae Bay - no dolphins were to be seen, but tens of thousands of birds (shearwaters) were flying east across the bay, a few hundred metres off-shore. And the hills of southern Fiordland made a great backdrop.

a giant thistle in Te Anau (cropped)
We stopped in Tuatapere ("sausage capital of New Zealand") for a drink, then pushed on to Manapouri, where we stopped briefly and booked a Milford Sound cruise. In Te Anau we stopped at the DOC office -- too late to collect our hut tickets, but I bought some citronella insect repellent. Then we moved into the B&B we'd booked (Matai Lodge), which was just over the road from the YHA. I left a message there for Murielle, who was going to be joining us for the Kepler Track.

lake Te Anau
We wandered around Te Anau - being a tourist town, many shops were open quite late. I checked out the options for having photographs put onto CD and we browsed the books in a Paperplus (the closest thing to a bookshop). We settled on one of Chinese restaraunts for dinner. Afterwards we walked along the lakefront, along with quite a few others, before returning to our B&B to pack.

This was pretty much the slackest day of the trip - no hiking and not that much driving. Packing for the next day was probably the most strenuous thing we did!

Next: Kepler Track - to Luxmore Hut
Previous: Rakiura Track (Stewart Island)

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