Monday, February 22, 2016

Stewart Island Adventures

Tristan and I visited the south of the south of New Zealand end of January. We took a 1 hour ferry ride (surprisingly not seasick stuff but I think we got lucky there and back) from Bluff to Stewart Island and spent 3 days in the main settlement of Oban, which has less than 400 residents, mostly rough fishermen and Department of Conservation people.
We packed for all weather conditions - we had 2 sunny days and 1 rainy day on which every tourist complained about not wanting to get out in the wet weather but we walked to the (non spectacular but rather practical) lighthouse and back anyway which took 3 hours return. On the first day we went on a 5 hour walk by mistake (thinking it was 2 hours but the bays multiplied on the way back) so we were starving and ate some baby punga (small curled tree-fern leaves). They tasted like walnuts and silenced our tummies for half an hour and we neither died nor did we hallucinate.

Stunning island we have to say! I don't know why it's not on every tourists itinerary. White sand beaches, blue- turquoise water, gorgeous walks through lush green fern and a unique vegetation that is a mix of the north island and southern west coast. Lots of birds around - we saw Kereru, Kaka, Oyster catchers, Muttonbird, random small birds we don't know the names of and we heard kiwis at night during our kiwi spotting walk which we were not adequately prepared for (you gotta have an infra red light) and therefore we got trolled by a possum half the time. We also saw a seal rolling about the rocks. And dolphions omg dolphins!!!

The water is freezing cold (10 degrees we were told) because it's so close to Antarctica, (or Anardica as some Americans say) but on the last day the air was 30 degrees so we swam. Twice even! It was great.
The sky at night was cloudy both nights so we didn't see any stars but had it not been cloudy I bet they would blow your mind! Apparently you can also see the southern lights from here - Aurora Australis. Maybe next time.

Enough said, more photos here:

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