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A Rare Visit to Stewart Island on Waitangi Day

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 7 February 2020 | Views [138]

A Waitangi Day to remember, Stewart Island

A Waitangi Day to remember, Stewart Island

A FRIEND COMPLAINED AFTER TAKING THE SAME NOORDAM CRUISE (in reverse) that he didn’t get to see enough of New Zealand.  Lack of time is my major gripe with cruises in general — that and the fact that ports, like railroad stations, seldom show a town in the best light.  It’s a good thing we plan to spend an extra six weeks in Kiwi-land.


   Beachwear for the Discerning Miss

Milford Sound is one of the crown jewels of New Zealand but  due to recent flooding, our scenic cruise of Fiordland National Park was canceled and we had to settle for a visit to Stewart Island instead.  It wasn’t that our ship couldn’t get into the Sound but the harbor pilot couldn’t get out to the Noordam due to debris from the flooding.  Our captain even inquired about helicoptering the pilot out but the choppers were all busy rescuing stranded hikers.


     Boat Houses


                                                 High and Dry

Stewart Island seldom sees cruise ships like ours — this was the first time a Holland American ship had ever called there.  I would like to think that the entire population of Oban — all 300 of them — showed up to see us but our visit happened to coincide with Waitangi Day, the commemoration of the Maori signing-over of NZ to the British Crown.  The addition of our 1800 passengers made this a Waitangi Day to remember!


                       New Zealand Pigeon

Connie and I weren’t overly disappointed in the change.  We had cruised through Milford Sound in 2005 and were actually planning to visit Stewart Island later on, so this saved us a trip.  We hiked along the coastal road, happy to stretch our legs and see some birds like the New Zealand Pigeon and Tui.  



Many of New Zealand’s birds are endemic so Maori names are appropriate.  “Tui” will be one of the simpler ones.


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