Susan ar Strae 2009 travel blog

Curio Bay, Southern Coast, South Island, New Zealand

News of the ship rescue hits the papers..Curio Bay, Southern Coast, South...

Slope Point - Southern Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Sloping trees too..Slope Point, Southern Coast, South Island, New Zealand

We woke up to great excitement happening down at the beach on nearby Porpoise beach - a local shipping vessel had got marooned. It took 2 other fishing boats and the help of high tide to free it - though by 11.30am it was on its merry way again. Testament of how little happens in such a remote area as this is that we saw the 'sceal mor' on page 2 of the Southland Times the day after!

Curio Bay is famous for the remains of a petrified forest which are visible on the beach during low tide. The petrified tree stumps, fallen trees are only! 180 million years old - the Jurassic period by all accounts!

An obligatory spot along the route was of course Slope Point - the most southerly point on the South Island on a small headland and you can see Stewart Island/Rakiura from it. Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island and means 'land of the glowing skies'.. I find the Maori names are far nicer than the 'settler' dominated ones as they usually relate to the land rather than the people who 'discovered' them. Like the Aboriginals in Australia, the Maoris and their traditions are closely connected to the land and nature. As you enter many of the reserves and forests you see written 'Toitu Te Whenua' - leave the land undisturbed.

We stopped off in Invercargill - the largest town in the region for supplies (Pak n Save supermarkets do very well from backpackers stocking up on cheap supplies. Food in NZ is definitely cheaper than at home.. from what I remember.) Once again plans to get a haircut were thwarted when local business men were a bit miffed at us arriving at 5pm expecting them to stay open. Business hours are strictly adhered to and people seem to really value their home time..

In the end we stayed in a curiously old fashioned but well kept camping ground in Riverton - a small village about 25 miles west of Invercargill - reputedly one of the oldest European settlements in South NZ. I went for a one hour run along the Rocks and the Aparima river that evening - first time I had to wear my fleece as the temperatures have dropped noticeably.

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