We have just been to Stewart Island for the weekend, the first time to the Island for us. Stewart Island is an eco-tourism destination known for its thriving bird and marine life. We left home with Edel and Peter on Saturday morning, a cold windy morning with hail stones still lying thick on the ground from the overnight fall. The comfortable trip across on the ferry took an hour as we motored at 22knots in the Real Journeys catamaran. On arrival to the motel where we had booked another hail shower hit, this time the hail was horizontal but thankfully brief and the sky cleared for us to take a boat trip across to Ulva Island, a bird sanctuary with very nice walking tracks. No-one lives on the island and so for the 4 hours that we were there, we were the only people there. The first bird interaction was with wekas on the beach. They are flightless birds also called wood hens and about the size of a domestic chicken. They came running up to us and provided good photographic opportunities for Warren as they showed no fear at all and followed us about. There was lots of other bird spotting, some birds we had not seen before such as the South Island Kaka, a brown parrot with a grey head which we also saw in the town feeding from the veranda of a local house. We stayed overnight and then after a wander about “town”, a pub lunch and a game of pool we headed home. The ferry trip home a bit more exciting with 50 knot winds through the Foveaux Strait and a 3 metre swell. How we appreciated being in a bigger boat than Scot Free!
Back home now we plan to settle down a bit for the winter, although this week Warren is off to Queenstown to help build Rob’s new house.