Arriving in Gore, we parked Rafe in the middle of the main st and crossed over to a nice looking Café. As we approached some people who saw us get out of Rafe and cross the road were waving and smiling at us.
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After sitting down with our coffee, we got chatting to the people right next to us Ross and Sally (the wavers and smilers) originally from Picton. It turns out that they’re in their third year of living in their Jayco Caravan and cruising around the South Island.
As we chatted away, we worked out that we are all going to Stewart Island on the same ferry in the morning. They gave us the name of the place they were staying at and that the coach was picking them up from there, so I rang both the POP and the coach company and booked both. Easy peasy.
The Lineham Layover is owned by Craig Lineham and Shelley Peters and is in the northern end of the main street of Invercargill. A nice spot with a big parking area on gravel.
We went from Gore directly to Craig and Shelley’s POP and caught up with Ross and Sally again. Craig is an amazing collector of all sorts.. Matchbox cars, Matches, you name it.
Right opposite them at the Pop was Peter and Sue with their Esprit from Taupo. We met them at Mapua several years ago… small world. Later we all caught up for a glass of something and a catchup.
We woke up early in the morning and as we made our way out to the end of the driveway, I received a phone call from the driver. He was early! But so were we 🙂
After picking up several other people from around Invercargill, we were off to Bluff to catch the ferry to Stewart Island. It was a foggy day so they were sound the horn every few minutes for the first part of the journey until the fog lifted. It was going to be a great day and there was hardly any wind so it was a nice smooth sailing.
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45 minutes or so later we were on the wharf at Oban, the capital if you like of Stewart Island.
The ferry was running late so we were quickly hustled onto a coach for a tour of Oban and the surrounding area.
We found out that power on the island is provided by a Diesel generator or provide your own with solar and generator. The populated part of Stewart Island around Oban, is only a small fraction of the island with the rest of it being National Park. We were taken to a lookout that showed the sheer size of the Island and its inlets and other islands.. amazing when you see it like that.
We were shown the Anchor chain which keeps Stewart Island tethered to the mainland or the other way around 🙂
After getting back to Oban, we caught another slightly smaller ferry to Ulva Island with our guide. On the way over to Ulva Island, an Albatross swooped in and landed right next to the ferry which had stopped. Amazing birds.
Ulva Island is park space administered by Doc completely free of most predators giving the birds and trees free run. The birds come right up to your feet and look you up and down.. its amazing. I’ve never been into trees and birds but this is completely different to what you see everywhere else and once you know what’s going on behind the scenes, it pretty cool.. well worth it if you’re heading that way.
We walked back to the ferry to be transferred back to our mainland ferry in Oban, to go back to Bluff.
A fantastic day checking it all out at Stewart Island. You can stay the night there too but we did it all in a day to keep the lid on costs but a great day. On the way back on the ferry, I booked our next extravaganza!
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