Invercargill – a sweet county fair, a stunning park, and a local icon. Stewart Island – remote, relaxed, beautiful, practically uninhabited, and as far south as you can go.
Murihiku – “the tail end of land.”
Driving to the bottom of New Zealand was a grand way to say good-bye to Fiordland.
1) Te Waewae Bay: Nothing Between Here and Antarctica
Driving distance between Te Anau and Invercargill is 2 hours with ample time to explore. Enroute was Te Waewae Bay, the southern tip of Fiordland. We walked the beaches at McCracken’s Rest and Gemstone Beach, a rockhound’s paradise.
2) A County Fair: The A&P (Agricultural and Pastoral)
Each March Invercargill hosts Southland’s A&P with livestock, competitions, scarecrows, and so much local fun. We made a beeline to the fairgrounds. For a few hours we chatted and cheered with Southland Kiwis and enjoyed every minute! (Yes, Gumboot Tossing is a bonafide NZ event.)
Ah!!! The sheep! There are 28 breeds of wooly NZ sheep. They dot the hills and sometimes block the road, but at the fair they were shown in their finest presheared glory!
My new love…”Donkeys have a reputation of being very stubborn, they are in fact very sensible and cautious. If a horse has a fright, he may jump or bolt where a donkey will freeze and investigate.” Southland A&P
3) Queens Park is a Wow! (with happy goats)
4) Stewart Island/Rakiura – Translation “Glowing Skies”
Stewart Island, population under 400, is the southernmost land mass. Human settlements failed, leaving it in almost pristine condition – how NZ looked before people came. Now a park, with miles of rugged tramping and daywalks. The weather can be harsh.
We took a small boat to Ulva Island and learned a wee bit about birding. This ancient forest has never been logged, thus a step back in time with a cacophony of birds overhead. Click this link to see photos, Birding in NZ
A cheeky weka
5) Invercargill’s Burt Munro, 1960’s motorcycle racing legend
My fandom comes from the 2005 movie The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, based on Burt’s legacy and his modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle. How fast? World Record? In 1967 at the age of 68, riding a 47 year-old bike, Burt Munro set a World Record in Utah with an average speed of 184.087 mph (3 runs). The record still stands.
Here’s the bike and the outershell. It’s never too late for the ride of your life!
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