Shumpty on tour: Invercargill and Bluff

After another great sleep (I seem to be going to bed at a normal time NZ time and then waking up at my normal time, if I was in Aus … 3 extra hours sleep rocks!) I opened the curtains to see that whilst the North Island was being drowned under a tropical storm, another perfect NZ day beckoned. Blue sky with a slight chill in the air was much better than the torrential rain of yesterday.

Today I decided to head to the southern most point of mainland New Zealand: the fishing town of Bluff and, more particularly, Stirling Point. It is a 25 minute drive south of Invercargill and for anyone down in these parts is well worth the effort.

First stop in Bluff was Stirling Point: right on the end of the New Zealand mainland. This point is a very popular spot with tourists who get their photos taken with the sign the signifies the start of Highway 1 in New Zealand. I chose to not get my photo among the phalanx of tourists at the spot and pointed the hire Yaris up the hill to the Bluff Lookout. After a struggle through the gears and a mildly worrying ride for someone a bit bothered by heights, I found one of the most breathtaking views I have seen in any of my travels.

360 degree views of the ocean to the west, south and east, the bay at Bluff and to the North the mainland. It was just great to be up there virtually on my own. I took some great pictures and will publish them in coming blogs. A sombre moment as I returned to my car was seeing two camera crews setting up to take pictures of the latest round of search boats returning to port after continuing to look for survivors of the sinking of the Easy Rider. Such a sad story and one that may see large changes in maritime safety over here.

Lunch today was at the Anchorage Bar and Cafe: the famous Bluff oysters were off the menu for me (seafood and I do not agree) but I had a great meal and a bit of a chat to some of the locals.

After driving home I decided to spend the afternoon at my cabin with feet up, following twitter updates of the Queensland Bulls victory in the Sheffield Shield whilst drinking a cold Speight’s in front of the fire. Another brilliant way to spend an afternoon on holidays.

I can not let today pass without two comments about sporting events of the day:

1. The Bulls won: bloody brilliant news. Whilst I am gutted I was not there for the final run to be scored that fact makes me no less proud of the boys. A brilliant team effort from a team that does not get the kudos it deserves and a great coaching effort from Darren “Boof” Lehman.

2. It was announced that Dan Carter MIGHT be back for the Crusaders this weekend. This was the first story on the news on NZ television, before the floods in the Northland and the chronic Marmite shortage over here. I will say it again: they love their rugby over here!

Tomorrow I will be heading to Queenstown. A lazy 200 kilometres up the road.

A final comment on Invercargill: many of you will have read my whine that the wifi was not working at the cottage I am in. It was fixed today and the proprietor stopped by tonight to give me back some of the money I had paid for the room for the inconvenience. Totally unnecessary and a measure of the class of the bloke. I am yet to meet a bad person since I have been over here and I hope that continues!

Onto tomorrow and Queenstown.