The Stewart Island debate
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Curio Bay Camp Ground
At Invercargill, the ‘big smoke’ (by big smoke we should clarify despite its name it only has 50,000 people which seems a lot when you are travelling here) of the Southland we visited the Southland Museum and Art Gallery attached to the i-site to see the ancient Tuatara, a species of reptile that hasn’t changed for 220 million years and which can live for over 100 years. Unfortunately wild Tuatara no longer live on mainland New Zealand due to predators so the only place that you can realistically see them is here. We even got to meet ‘Henry’ who is 120 years old and only became a father at 105. The curator called him out and he even seemed to recognise his name! Still he has had a long time to learn. The rest of the museum was really interesting and had memorabilia belonging to Burt Monroe the legendary motorcyclist. Some great photography too depicting white baiting and the Kiwi obsession with it. As we’ve seen this going on everywhere it seemed so apt to be showcasing it at this time of year.
Outside again Andrew got excited as we realised that there was an important bike race about to start at the entrance to the park
We got to Bluff, where the ferry leaves for Stewart Island as I’d told Andrew that this was where he could buy oysters direct from the factory, what we didn’t realise was that oyster season ended 2 months ago so the factory was shut up – the sulk got worse. We found Bluff to be a cute little place though and we took the obligatory photograph at the signpost on the not quite southern most point of the South Island looking out to the South Pole to go with the one from Cape Reigna on North Island
Now as we have had no choice but to come out of the closet as fully fledged (get it) Twitchers despite it being late we couldn’t resist stopping off at Waituna Lagoon to see which wading birds we could spot. It was a bit of a disappointment really we only saw one heron type bird and some ducks, still we had got some exercise in to our old legs. We arrived at Curio Bay Camp Ground and found the office locked up with a message that the shop would reopen again at 10.30am the following morning. The location of this campsite was perfect, nestled in between Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay with the most private pitches in between tall grass it was wonderful. We made our camp and cooked rump steak and pasta with plenty of fried onions before watching The Bounty Hunter before bed without a sand fly in sight – it was good to be on the South Coast.