New Zealand Travelogue – Monday, 26th October 2015

Soundtrack: Don’t Go by Yazoo

Google Fit stats:

  • Activity: 45 minutes
  • Distance: 1.3 km
  • Calories: 385
  • Steps: 3,477

I’ve felt cold on Stewart Island. This is an odd thing for me – I’m rarely cold. Still, Stewart Island was a bit chilly.

We were woken again by the kakas. It’s lovely to see them, even if they do make strange noises. Here’s a video SWMBO took (with my phone!) of a kaka making the strange water-drop sounds:

We got up, packed and left our luggage with Pip – she’d take it down to the boat for us, which was just excellent service.

Had a cooked breakfast at the hotel then went across to take a bus tour of the island. The island’s not big, and very little of it has roads. Alternatively we could have gone to the local cinema (yep, there’s a small cinema there!) and seen the local film ‘A Local’s Tail’, but in the end the bus tour won.

I think the bus tour took in most of the roads on the island. There are only about 20km of roads, and it wasn’t a short tour. It was pretty slow though – everyone drives slowly on the roads. I guess when you know everyone you’re more careful than the drivers we get in Norn Iron, who have some isolation disconnect when they’re driving and act like no-one else matters.

The bus took us to some lovely spots, like Observation Rock.

SWMBO at Observation Rock


And this gorgeous bay:

Just beautiful

So of course we interposed ourselves with it.

Us at the bay

And of course the bus took us to the chain at Lee Bay again. It was better when we had it to ourselves though.

It was nice to see the extreme ends of the town, even if we did walk past one end of it yesterday on our way to the chain.

Had a cuppa in KFC, then went to the hotel to wait for the ferry. Spotted some regular (to my eyes) oystercatchers on the beach as well as the all-black oystercatchers. I wondered if they were tourists too.

Oystercatcher Wars – like the Jets and the Sharks

At the hotel we bumped into the girl from Derry. She wasn’t working at the bar then, she was there as a customer. At this point Ireland had been put out of the rugby World Cup, so I asked her if she wanted my Ireland hat. She did (and seemed happy with the reminder of home) so that was one less thing to pack in the increasingly-cramped suitcase.

I had a ginger beer in the hotel because I wanted to take it easy on my stomach in case the journey was rough. I shouldn’t have worried – the crossing was much better this time than… Saturday? Was it Saturday we came over here? I’ve thoroughly lost track of the days. Anyway, this time the ferry was smoother.

When we arrived back in Bluff on the South Island we found out that Bluff had been cut off from Invercargill for over 12 hours because of a road accident. No traffic to Bluff meant the folks who were heading out to Stewart Island on tickets like ours got flown across rather than ferried, at no extra charge. Just part of getting things done here. I love that attitude.

The bus dropped us at Invercargill airport for our flight to Christchurch and then on to Auckland. The Christchurch flight was delayed which had us worrying about missing the connection to Auckland but I checked and the airline folks said ‘Half the Christchurch flight are going to Wellington and the other half are going to Auckland so they’ll make sure you get there’. They automatically transferred us to a later flight, and (when we were delayed again) made sure that flight stayed until all the passengers connecting from our flight made it on board.

I do like Air New Zealand.

I wrote this on the flight to Christchurch:

People are idiots

On the flight to Christchurch now.

While most of the folks around just want to get through the flight, there's one guy who wants to talk to all his friends around the plane. And he left his phone on. We're on an ATR 72, so phones and tablets are supposed to be powered down for takeoff and landing. This is one of the planes where they can interfere with the systems.

He didn't bother. His iPhone probably isn't even in airplane mode.

Why is there always one? Still, at least there is only one. This time. We've four more flights over the next two days to get through, and this is the shortest of them.

And the flight attendant has a cold. Guess we're all getting colds then.

So it looks like I haven’t got any better at plane travel then.

We arrived on Christchurch and rushed from one gate to the other (through security again) and got straight on to the plane to Auckland. I did hear some folks from our plane saying ‘The plane can’t leave without us…’ which annoyed me a bit – no, it can’t, but you’re holding up an entire plane of people while you dawdle! Most folks arrived pretty quickly though.

This was the first flight we saw the new safety briefing video Air New Zealand did. It looks like they put a lot of effort into it – a cheesey Men In Black pastiche with some of the All Blacks and Rip Torn. It’s fun.

Once we got to Auckland we took a taxi to the hotel. The taxi had a camera in it, pointed at the backseat. Is this a thing now? Anyway, the hotel seems very nice.

The view from our hotel

Always nice when they’re expecting you…

Auckland selfie!

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