March 5, 2014
We did not make many stops on our way back to Te Anau as we had a ferry deadline to make… 4:30 PM at Bluff. I insisted on the scenic route and Brian was concerned as the GPS kept telling us to make a u-turn for a different route. Brian used to trust me as a navigator before the GPS. Sigh! At any rate he followed my directions and we arrived in Bluff with more than an hour to spare. It took one hour for the catamaran that holds one hundred people to bounce across the waves to Stewart Island.
Once again we have a superb accommodation…a one bedroom house with a deck that connects two more bedrooms and a bathroom with washer and dryer, all on a hill overlooking Halfmoon Bay, the entrance to the harbour. We are surrounded by shrubs and trees filled with birdsong. Two kakas (parrots) greeted us on the deck and were quick to get up close and personal for some bread handouts. The beautifully decorated house was worth the uphill hike with our baggage. We are most grateful for luggage with wheels.
We thought we would have dinner at the Church Hill Restaurant just down the road, but they were full and the only grocery store was closed. Fortunately the only other eatery in town had room for us even though it looked as if it would be full.
We shared an excellent seafood chowder as couples. It was huge and would have been a full meal for me, but Kate and I both had a crayfish (rock lobster) meal while Jim had fish and chips and Brian had deep fried mussels and chips. Neither of them could finish their fries. No one ordered dessert even though the sundaes we saw others eating looked pretty appetizing. It’s a good thing we had a steep hill to climb to get to bed.
March 6, 2014
This morning Brian and I were up at 7:30 AM well before Kate and Jim. We showered, had some cereal and went down to the grocery store to replenish our breakfast supplies. I thought it might be better to walk around before buying groceries, but Brian bought the bag of groceries first; so, we explored Oban uphill and down and took our groceries for the walk, about four kilometres.
At noon the four of us took the water taxi to Ulva Island, a bird sanctuary. We heard many more birds than we were able to spot or photograph, but we had a very enjoyable four hours walking the island, pausing and waiting and listening. Again the walking tracks were impeccably maintained. When we returned to our house we sat in the sunshine on the deck and spotted more birds than we saw on Ulva Island. The kakas were once again looking for their handouts. I think they have a regular evening stop here. Although our lodging is called the Bathing Beach House, it is also known as the Kaka Retreat.
There was no fresh meat or fish at the grocery store this morning. This afternoon there were two porter house steaks. Brian went to the clothing store next door to ask me if we still had vegetables and a few minutes later when he went to buy the steaks, they were already gone. Back to the South Seas Hotel restaurant for dinner. Kate and I had a delicious fish pie while Brian had seafood chowder and Jim had steak, eggs and fries.
March 7, 2014
We went off in different directions today as couples to explore Oban with it’s many walking paths to beautiful sandy coves with pristine water. Brian and I walked to Ackers Point where there is a lighthouse while Jim and Kate checked out more streets in town including a public garden and cemetery.
This afternoon Brian and I could not resist playing golf at the Ringaringa Golf Course. For $21 we paid our green fees, rented clubs and were given three golf balls, two tees and a score card. The course has six holes overlooking the ocean. We could have played the six holes over and over again for the one fee, but after climbing up and down the steep fairways, six holes was enough. One man was practising for tomorrow’s club championship. There will be six members playing tomorrow. We did not hear if the club had more than six members. Brian got par on one hole. I did not get anything close to a par. Since we had to walk more than two kilometres uphill, of course, to get to the golf course, we only took four clubs with us…a 5, 7, 9 and putter.
Brian scored Porter House steaks at the store…barbecuing. yum!