Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Day 30 Stewart Island

Today's early start was well worth it as once we dragged ourselves out of bed we got to feed the animals on the farm! We each got a bottle to feed a lamb, who were adorable, then we got to feed the alpacas, the huge waddling hens, two super cute calves and finally George, the naughty goat! After that fun start to the day we said goodbye to the farm, it’s really friendly owners, the bikers we’d befriended as well as Invercargill and set off on the road to Bluff.

After a minor detour to a farmers market we got the miniscule town of Bluff which is situated on the very edge of the coast, it was here we parked the car, grabbed our backpacks and, which a rather large degree of hesitation, boarded the dreaded ferry.
I have to say the ferry wasn’t quite as bad as I’d feared. I think this is predominantly down to the fact even he guidebook bemoaned it’s horribleness. Don’t get me wrong it was pretty awful, possibly one of the worst trips I’ve ever been on as there were parts we were jumping up in the air constantly while waves went right over the top of the ferry. But I wasn’t sick and it was only an hour of the awful open sea before we managed to get in between some island and found some calmer waters.
After getting a little lost, which is an impressive feat considering the entire island has less than 400 people and the town is as big as a shoe box, we found our adorable hostel which makes you feel right at home with the addition of a no shoes inside policy, roaring log fire, free wine, internet, and a lovely atmosphere where everyone chats about their plans in the lounge
Once recovered from the ferry I set off on a walk hoping to get in some scenery and bird watching before the day was up. And once again I got completely lost. I should be used to tracks not being labled by now but I got about half way along my journey, the beginning big of which was perfectly sign posted, and then the path suddenly stopped at a road. After walking up and down this hill looking for some sort of sign for the continuing path I gave up and set off on a different track, which I'd been planning to do tomorrow. Long story short I walked for about 6hours doing every detour imaginable and now I need to figure our what to walk tomorrow since I was planning to do most of the tracks tomorrow!

I had a smudge on my camera lense that I didn't notice until I got back - so annoying
The beginning of my lovely well sign posted walk...
cheeky little parrot
Already Stewart island is living up to it’s reputation for me as the bird watching capital, as already I’ve seen two penguins, some mutton birds, diving pigeons, albatrosses (I can’t contain my excitement on this one) as well as some parrots, parakeets and several other robins and little birds that I don’t know the names of. 
a random golf course I stumbled across while looking for my path
The walk was really enjoyable but the vast majority was through the bush, which I do enjoy but I prefer walks where you're rewarded with some sort of view at the top of each hill instead of more tress laid out ahead. I did manage to catch a couple of glimpses of the shore every now and again though

This single picture seems to summarise my walk perfectly. I'm pretty sure I walked up the equivelent of ten years worth of stair climbing. I think I prefer painfully steep slopes. 

Just as I was on the homeward stretch I saw a signpost for yet another detour and so, obviously, I couldn't resist. Another half and hours walk saw me to the top of observation rock and I got some pretty beautiful views!

This little bird just sat there while I walked around the rock

This is one of my favourite pictures from today, I took it on my way back down to Oban after my walk

Tomorrow’s plans are dependent on the weather as it’s technically still spring so the weather is c.o.l.d. Or at least, it’s cold compared to what we’re used to now, it’s still a lot warmer than it is in the UK. I think I’m going to die of cold at Christmas!!

P.S Jackie, the lovely hostel manager, told us that if we go at dusk we could see little blue penguins climbing ashore and making the arduous journey through the rocky cliffs to their nests. So once it became dark we headed down and saw the incredibly funny and adorable penguins jump about on rocks! 

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