We travelled in style from the Greens to the Healy’s, for our first reunion,
… in this classic Chevrolet, courtesy of the Greens’ son-in-law, Warren
From Wellington, we flew to Invercargill, at the southern tip of South Island, to stay with friends we hadn’t seen since 2008. What a wonderful welcome we received!
While we were there, we took the opportunity to visit Stewart Island, even further south! The climate
there is unpredictable at latitude 47°, but we were fortunate to go there on a fine day, with no rain. (The island’s rainforests are a testament to the frequency of its rainfall.)
As we waited for our ferry to Stewart Island, we saw this beautiful sailing ship,
The ‘Spirit of New Zealand’
The ship was built in 1986 by the Spirit of New Zealand Trust specifically for Youth development. Every year, groups of trainees, aged between 15 and 18 years, take up the challenge of learning about
the sea, and how to sail a tall ship.
David in Oban, Stewart Island
Stewart Island is 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of New Zealand's South Island, and is best known for its conservation areas of native birds and plants. We only went for the day, but it is a popular place for camping along hiking trails, and for sightings of the Aurora Australis at night.
The Police Station on Stewart Island
As you can see from the size of the police station, the population is very small, less than 400 local
We saw the sign, but didn’t see the kiwis!
We walked up hill, and down to the Ulva Island Ferry
David waiting for the ferry
Sign at the ferry station
Ulva Island is an unspoilt rainforest, a natural haven for rare birds and plants. The sign is to remind visitors the importance of keeping predators away, especially rats which devour birds eggs, hatchlings, and kill native plants.
Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara)
Steps up to Flagstaff Point
View from the top
Mail for Stewart Island used to be delivered on Ulva Island, and the residents used to row across to
collect their post, and a raised flag on Flagstaff Point signalled that the post had arrived. It became quite a festive occasion as friends from different settlements could meet up.
We trekked around the island as quietly as possible, so we could see the wildlife. Here are some of
the unique birds we saw.
The elusive Weka
The Weka cannot fly, but is able to walk and swim long distances. It feeds mostly on insects, birds' eggs, lizards, and sometimes even other birds.
New Zealand Wood Pigeon (Kererū)
These are larger than the pigeons seen in cities throughout the world, and we saw several swooping
through the forest.
Stewart Island Robin (Toutouwai)
The ferry boat driver told us just to step into the forest, and the birds would come. He was quite right. As we walked off the path, we disturbed the insects they eat, and immediately a Robin came hopping along.
This is quite a destructive bird. It strips the bark off trees to get at the insects underneath.
We had a wonderful day on Stewart Island, and I will definitely want to visit it again, perhaps for longer than just one day.