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Krista's Travels

South of the South Island

USA | Sunday, 22 February 2009 | Views [600] | Comments [3]

Kaka trying to eat Lotty's lunch - Stewart Island

Kaka trying to eat Lotty's lunch - Stewart Island

I've arrived back in Christchurch after just under 2 weeks of travel around the southern portion of the south island. It's been a real mixture of extremely rewarding moments, taking in vast beautiful wilderness and getting to know interesting friendly people from all over the world, and not-so-perfect moments, getting sick of being constantly on the move and sleeping in hostel bunks, riding long hours on uncomfortable busses, and experiencing the gray, rainy, coolish weather than is summer in some parts here lately. I am anxiously awaiting my time further north, in areas more known for their sunny weather, and looking forward to my planned time at a retreat center and visiting some farms. 

In the last 2 weeks I hiked to see alaska-style glaciers in one of the only areas at this lattitude where the glaaciers nearly reach the sea, cruised in the wildernessy but touristy Milford Sound, visited the Scottish city of Dunedin, had fun in the "adventure capital" Queensland (including watching fellow busmates bungy!!), visited several national parks, and (saving the best for last) spent 4 gloriously peaceful days on Stewart Island.

Stewart Island is the "third" new zealand island, a huge island of primarily rugged, protected wilderness located one hour's ferry ride south of the "south island". Many people go because of the birdlife, and there's a small island near the one town on the island called Ulva Island, which you can take a water taxi to and hike around on. Ulva Island is a predator-free island, rare in these parts, which means that there are bird species there that can't survive in the presence of rats and other vermin that were never native to these lands. One wonderful thing about the birds here having evolved with a lack of predators is that they are quite tame to the human with the camera and pose for photos better than those back home!

Every day I went for long walks out from town (Oban) with my friend Lotty from London. We would just make giant loop walks out of the trails and roads, all extremely scenic, visiting numerous gorgeous and unpopulated beaches and coves each day. The town is small, pop. 400 or so, plus tourists, and everywhere you go you feel the presence of nature. I am so impressed that there are so many trails everywhere I go in New Zealand. Most places you can just walk for a bit and hop on a trail, and head off into the "bush" pretty near wherever you are staying. We also joined the locals for their weekly Quiz Night and a fund raiser concert for the search and rescue. A little break from the typical tourist life, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Other highlights included the blue cod feast supplied by the folks off my bus that had gone out on the fishing trip the day we came in (most of them only stayed one night on the island) and harvesting my own mussels from a beautiful beach near town (gritty but tasty as I didn't have time to let them clean themsevles out like you do with clams).

I won't go into details about all the other places I visited, mostly the same old tourist things, although two more food items that stand out strongly in my mind include 1) My time in Dunedin was short but I have grand memories of a vegan/indian food cafe there that fed me the first gluten-free samosas I've ever seen, satisfying a three-year dearth of one of my favorite foods!, and 2) Queenstown hosts the best ice cream I've tasted, a place called Patagonia, run by Hispanics, I think, and with a dark chocolate-macadamia ice cream that was to die for. I never regret paying good money for good food! Imagine how many ice creams you can buy instead of one short-lived bungy jump!! 30-40, maybe? Haha!!

Onward ho...



Hi Krista,
I'm back in Germany and back to real life now and I'm reading your great stories about all these wonderful places I've also just been. I even picture me there: buying ice cream at Patagonias (and getting a thrill over yummy dark chocolate macadamia ice cream), attending the Quiz night in the local Pub on Stewart Island (the Lady Quizmaster is very peculiar don't you think?), ... Didn't I tell you the ice cream at Patagonias is amazing;-)? I'm glad you're enjoying New Zealand! I just had the best time in NZ and Australia! I'm looking forward very much to reading more stories about your different experiences in NZ. I wish I could still be there travelling.
Hope to hear from you soon :-)
Take care

  Rebecca Feb 25, 2009 5:14 AM


Hey Krista Just checked out your blog. Oh my, you are a goin far and wide. Sounds like you're finding lots of adventures along the way. Love the Orchid picture. Hope you're finding good laughs, friends and food and many a songs and dance as well. Does anyone you've crossed paths with have any answers to our worldly dilemmas? Besides total human annihilation of course. I know you wanted to get away but..... You are missing the OBAMA RAGE sweeping federal offices around this Country. Hay, I might even hang an American Flag (and right side up too). I was shocked to see the EPA website and everything has changed. The whole focus has shifted from polluters protection services (what can I get away with) to --- providing science based information and eco services. Wow!
Times are a changing. How long will your travels last? Will you end up back here? In time for black berry season on Lummi? We're all doing great. I'm going to be a Grandma; Leah's having a baby boy due April 7th. We're planting natives along the ferry landing this spring, fixing the new parking lot rain gardens and enhancing wildlife habitats along the northern beach with our NFWF Grant funds. Hope this finds you happy and well! Sending you lots of loving light on your travels. Love you - miss you, Wanda

  Wanda Cucinotta Mar 10, 2009 7:08 PM


crocus are popping out, from the snow!

  lynne Mar 11, 2009 9:45 AM

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