To the third largest of New Zealand's islands and its newest national park.
Tuesday 1 January 2013 - Friday 4 January 2013
Tuesday, 1 January
The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban on Stewart Island is sometimes very bumpy as it crosses Foveaux Strait, a sometimes treacherous piece of water to get get there. However, today was what the crew called nice and flat, only one metre swells. The hostel was okay, full and so there was a bit of a queue to get into the kitchen to cook some dinner.
Most of Oban.
The church and ferry building in Oban.
Wednesday, 2 January
After a bit of a sleep in and brekkie, I walked up to Observation Point. The guide leaflet said it was a bit steep. Yep, they were right. In fact mountaineering equipment, sherpas and oxygen were need to get me up the very steep street to the much needed seat at the top. However, the views were pretty good.
The mooring at Golden Bay and the water taxis to Ulva Island.
I caught one of the water taxis out to Ulva Island, a Department of Conservation controlled sanctuary in the middle of Patterson Inlet. DOC had successfully managed to eradicate all the predators (cats, rats, stoats etc) on the island and the native bird life (a lot of whom do not fly) is now flourishing. There are some gentle walking trails across the island allowing you to spot the birds.
The only landing site on Ulva Island and the old post office.
Looking back to Stewart Island from Ulva Island.
A family of weka on Ulva Island.
Weka rummaging around on the shore line.
The female weka off hunting more food.
A seal having a nap.
"What do you want?"
"I can see you."
A bold tourist.
He's getting closer.
"This is my beach. Go away."
All very funny.
The afternoon was spent back in Oban, a nice pub lunch, afternoon snooze (I am on holiday after all) and talking to people in the hostel.
Thursday, 3 January
Went for another walk along the coast road towards the light house. This is quite flat and a pleasant walk whenever the rain showers stopped and the sun came out.
More of Oban village.
The entrance to Oban harbour.
What's for dinner tonight?
Around the corner from Oban.
The afternoon was spent back in Oban, a nice pub lunch, afternoon snooze (I am on holiday after all) and talking to people in the hostel. (Hang on, I think I am repeating myself.)
Friday, 4 January
An early start to get the ferry, collect the car and head off towards Fiordland.
Stewart Island is the sort of place if you wish to escape the excesses of civilization, yet still be relatively comfortable. The island is 80% national park and there are some serious waking or tramping trails around it. There were many people in the hostel doing some or all of the trail. To do it all takes about 10-12 days of serious hardcore bush walking, not for the unfit or unprepared, hence my morning walks and afternoon naps.
The weather is defined as "changeable" and that is absolutely correct. Good rain gear is required at all times. I will have to upgrade my stuff if I am to come back.