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Stewart Island and Bluff Point – Day 57
Monday 23rd May 2005
Stewart Island was today’s adventure, and I had to be up early to catch the ferry across the water. I had high hopes for today as the pictures I have seen of this island look fantastic. I just wondered if now was not the best time of year to go. We will see.
I had my shower then left to catch the ferry that was 30 minutes by car. The air all around was cold, and the weather foggy, again. I parked the car on the side of the road, as I had no clue as to where a car park was, but didn’t feel too confident about it. I half expected to come back and find the car clamped, or broken into, or maybe burnt to the ground. I guess I will find out later. For now, I had to board the ferry and be on my way.
Across the water took 1 hour, and the trip was fairly smooth, although I couldn’t see a thing out of the window. I arrived at Stewart Island and was a little deflated I have to say. I think I was right about coming the wrong time of year. I wanted to explore anyway to get a better feel for the place. I opted not to hire a bike on the basis it was bitterly cold, and foggy, and that it looked as though it might rain at any second. I chose, instead, to go around by foot.
Without wanting to be too negative, it wasn’t the best of days. It rained on and off all day long, and there was little to see as a result of the thick fog that still hugged every inch of land. I was cold and wet, bored and frustrated, and everywhere I looked I could see building work of some kind taking place. I felt like I was in an over-sized builder’s yard. I wasn’t impressed at all. On the up side, there were a couple of really nice beaches, and I imagined them to be great in the summer when it is warmer. I don’t know if I could live with all these sand flies though.
I decided I had had enough, and opted to take the next available ferry back across the water, and in some respects, I wish I hadn’t. It was the worse crossing I have ever witnessed, and I felt sure I would see my lunch again. I sat initially in one corner of the boat, and as we set sail it immediately started bouncing up and down. I moved to a more central part of the boat but didn’t feel much better. People were huddled around the one toilet on board, taking turns to be ill, but I just hoped and prayed I would make it across without being ill.
We made it across, and I have never been happier to see dry land. I don’t think I will ever make this journey again. I drove on to Bluff Point to see where the land finished and the sea began. There was a sign detailing the distances and directions to all major cities across the world. I next drove to the end of highway 1. It is significant because it is the very start/end of the first main highway in New Zealand. I then drove to the lookout and began to feel a little better by this point, the feeling of nausea slightly subsiding. It was very windy and cold here, but I stayed to watch the glorious sunset before driving back to the hostel. Here I rested for a while.
After feeling much better, I went out for a large burger and chips across the road, then returned for an evening in, talking to the others. We talked late into the night and swapped ghost stories, it was really fun.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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