Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stewart Island

After our outing to Castle Rock and Cave Stream, we were eager to get further away and see some of the country we hadn't yet visited. So, after some planning, a little shopping, and a wee bit of packing we hopped in the car and drove South. We were heading to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island where we would jump onto a ferry and finish off on Stewart Island - otherwise known as, Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui (the anchor stone of Maui's Canoe), which links to the creation story of New Zealand, or more commonly as, Rakiura (the great and deep blushing of Te Rakitamau) for a Maori chieftain who is now seen as the sunrise and sunsets and aurora australis (southern lights). It is a place well-known for being one of the last vestiges of New Zealand native bush and birds, a great place to catch a glimpse of the infamous kiwi. The photos here are an assortment from our trip there and all the splendorous things we saw there. Hope you enjoy!

[Waiting for the ferry in Bluff]

[Bluff is one of the largest ports in New Zealand]

[Halfmoon Bay, Oban - Oban is the only town on Stewart Island]


[Oban waterfront]

[Chess on the beach]

[Territorial Oyster Catchers]

[Golden Bay - where our shuttle left from to take us up to Freshwater Hut]

[Driving through Paterson Inlet and up the river]

[Going up the Freshwater River]

[A load of trampers waiting to board the shuttle heading back to Oban]

[The Freshwater River - reminded me of a jungle river with dense forest to the waters edge]

[Leaving Freshwater Hut]

[Native New Zealand bush]

[Our favorite DOC bridges and hiking up Rocky Mountain]

[Our first kiwi!]

[The top of Rocky Mountain]

[Native forest with ferns galore, rata trees and lots more]

[Much of Stewart Island is made of muck]

[But the hiking is still fantastic]

[A friendly little Stewart Island robin]

[Happy people are more fun]

[Almost there]

[Finally arrived - escaping the sand flies with some inside time]

[Masons Bay]

[Exploring the beach]

[Little Blue penguin]

[Sand dunes]

[Walking back through the Chocolate Swamp - all the little white things are spider nests]

[Trail types]

[Yet another friendly visitor]

[Our ride returned and we were taken back to Oban]

[Through big waves and heavy wind]

We tucked into a hostel that night and hoped for good weather the next day so we could go kayaking.

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