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Saturday 22 February 2003


Invercargill - Stewart Island

View South from Observation Rock, Stewart Island

Woke up fairly late – 8:45 for once. Packed my duffel bag with excess stuff I didn’t need for Stewart Island and went to the city cenre. I stashed my duffel with a hostel opposite the Kiwi Experience pickup point. I walked all around town looking for a bakery but only found a few crusty cafés. I wandered for a while and rang the visitors centre on Stewart Island. At 12:20 I got picked up by the spitfire shuttle bus and taken to the airport. I waited for a while there and got on a plane – a Piper Cherokee Six.

The weather was overcast but we were flying under it, so had fairly good views. The air was slightly bumpy. We flew over a swampy estuary, past Bluff and out over Foveaux Strait. The water was flecked all over with whitecaps. To the east were many small islands in the strait. Soon we came toward the coast of Stewart Island. It appeared quite hilly – not really mountainous, but there appeared to be nowhere completely flat. We passed over areas of untouched forest before touching down on a quite small tarmac strip. A van came and took us to the centre of Oban (on Halfmoon Bay).

My first impressions were of a very small fishing vilage. I checked into Innes Backpackers where I’d reserved a double (It was all that was left, and allowed a better nights sleep). I went to the visitors centre, and then for a wander. I went to Golden Bay on Patersons Inlet, then walked the “Golden Bay – Deep Bay” track.

I booked a water taxi to Ulva island for the next day and got a few things extra for dinner. Out the back of the hostel, Inne (the owner) was feeding some birds – four Kaka. They look similar to Kea but grey brown with red flecked undersides – They are apparently very rare. I cooked dinner and retired to my room and watched a little TV before I went to bed.