Friday, January 22, 2010

Stewart Island

After our wonderful week WWOOFing with Ellen and Colin we headed to Stewart Island for a couple nights. It was a bit of an ordeal to get there, as Colin dropped us off in Winton where we caught a bus into Invercargill, then a different bus to Bluff and then an hour ferry to the island. The ferry crossing was pretty rough, but relatively short so we got to Stewart Island mid-morning on Wednesday.

The main town of Oban is a sleepy little village with one main hotel, a small grocery store, a couple of backpacker hostels and a fish and chip shop. After checking into the hostel we wandered down to the library; we love visiting public libraries as there is usually free Internet and the one in Oban didn't disappoint, except that it is only open four hours a week! We felt lucky to be there during one of their four open hours!

Supposedly summer is the peak tourist season but the town didn't seem very overwhelmed with tourists, although the cold, rainy weather might have contributed to the lack of people. We had one full day on the island so we decided that rain or shine we'd go for a hike. Although it rained overnight and was overcast when we started, the weather turned out beautiful. We hiked the beginning of the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. The trail begins with a walk under a huge chain which represents Steward Island as the anchor of the country.

The full walk is a 36km (22mi) loop with huts along the way. We hiked the portion of it out to Maori Beach. Even though we didn't start that early (9am) we had the beach to ourselves.

Of course, this is a New Zealand beach so we didn't swim, and the sand flies were terrible, but it was quite pretty.

On the way back to took "the long way" back to town and walked around Horseshoe Point where we watched the fog rolling in for the afternoon.

The next day we took the ferry back to Bluff (a much calmer ride), the connector bus to Invercargill and then a long-distance bus up to Christchurch where we are now. We're back staying with Sue and her family where we couchsurfed before. Although Sue only signed up for couchsurfing mid-December she's really jumped on it. She's hosting us, another couple from Alaska and a man from Spain - all at the same time! Sue took us out dancing last night and today we might go pick blueberries with her (although not at Blueberry Bliss - she did stop in there the day we left but doesn't like the picking there because she claims the bushes are really picked over) . We're in Christchurch through Monday. We hope to check out the Busker Festival, although the weather is not cooperating; it's overcast, raining and actually pretty cold (53F).

Here's the link to the full set of Stewart Island pictures:
Stewart Island

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails