Stewart Island

So mum and dad dropped me in Bluff where Orla came down from Glentanner and met me in the hostel. Like true Irish (well, true stereotypical ones anyway) we headed off to the pub – and it was a great old night playing pool (we owned the table for quite a while – Orla being a bit of a pool shark) and chatting with locals & visitors.

This probably didn’t help however when we had to catch a pretty bumpy ferry the next morning to Stewart Island. It’s an hour long crossing and can get quite rough (which it did!). Apparently the deepest it gets is only 32m!! which is *so* shallow.. no wonder it gets some big swells.

Our plan was get a water taxi to Freshwater Landing (where the red line starts) and then to walk (day 1) to Masons bay where Kiwi are supposed to be in permanent residence.

So off we set.. the first 20 to 30 meters was fine. Then it turned into this:

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the scenery and dodging mud. In fact spent the next two days doing it really. Bit pointless as they were muddy by the end and it would have been quicker to just resign yourself to the fact that your shoes were going to be wrecked and get on with it. Still, there was no rush!

The hut at Masons bay was lovely – and the sunset that evening simply stunning. We didn’t see any kiwi birds unfortunately (nor even hear them – though I thought at one point I had). Shame really.

We did see some kiwi poo on the way out though.. so they were around.. just not saying hello.

The next day was pretty long – on the map it was back along the red line and along the purpley one. It was 26km .. which isn’t really tooooo far, but the route between freshwater landing and North Arm hut was pretty rough.

We were both pretty happy to get to the hut that evening.. It was fully full once we arrived!

The next day was much easier as were were back into Great Walk territory. DOC has made some tracks in NZ ‘Great Walks’. They are well promoted, more expensive to say in, in beautiful parts of the country, and designed so that anyone with moderate fitness can do them. It also means they try not to let your shoes get too muddy ;)

Finally back to Oban and a nice shower followed by Fish & Chips. We went down to check out the blue penguins too… they have nesting area just beside the town.

So a great trip with Orla, we were dead lucky with the weather – no rain for 3 days. It didn’t make me want to do the 10 day circuit though… but sure maybe someday!

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