This is going to be my third (and final) attempt to describe the events of the day we traveled to Invercargill. The previous two attempts simply vanished when our wifi link coughed. Couldn’t even find an auto saved file. Twice. And I have to say I was rather pleased with both attempts. I did not react with equanimity. However, I didn’t break anything. OK, here we go again. I am hoping there is truth to the ‘third time lucky’ adage. While Invercargill is the southernmost city there is another community further south called Bluff and it was here we decided to make our first stop. The Stewart Island ferry departs from there and while I had been warned about the bone-jarring passage in rough weather it was a fine, sunny day with only a light breeze. I had already made up my mind that I was not going to chance it in any event and as it turned out we were too late to go that day. Thus we carried on down the road to the ocean facing side of Bluff where we were able to park and enjoy an incredible view out to sea. Bluff itself is well named. As we approach from the north side the community hugs a lagoon and protected harbor with houses rising up the gentle slope of a single large hump of land. However, when you get around to the ocean side this large hump of land, I’m guessing 250 meters high or so, drops precipitously into the ocean. Where the road ended a walking path began.

Looking back to where the road ends at Bluff


By now Kim was handling our campervan as if it were a smart car and after neatly backing into tight quarters we set off down the path. The view was really something. A sunny clear sky with Stewart Island out towards the horizon, blue green waters with waves crashing into the rocky shore and the kelp moving in and out of the rocks at the mercy of the wave action. Seagulls, which were bountiful we’re either riding the thermals near the bluffs or swarming the fishing boats that were heading back to port. I think I made it maybe half a kilometer down the trail before my back told me it was time to about face but the girls carried on a bit further. We were all feeling a bit peckish when they returned and while we had provisions in the campervan there was a restaurant just up the hill a bit with huge windows facing out to sea. It was not hard to decide that we wanted to be sitting there, perhaps quaffing an ale and gazing out to sea some more.

Room with a View


It wasn’t going to matter what was on the menu but we were all hoping there might be a bit of seafood. There was. Both Kim and Julie ordered blue cod and while we were a bit too early for oyster season I opted for the mussels which were harvested from Stewart island. I chose the tomato basil broth. OMB! They were amazing! The species here is known as green lipped mussels, and, true to their name, there is a brilliant band of green along the edge of the shell. While the shells seemed similar in size to our local mussels the meat was twice the volume. I have no hesitation in stating that these were the tastiest mussels I have had for at least 35 years.

Green-lipped Mussels are to die for


I can’t say ever thanks to my brother Mark, who on our very first visit to Long Beach so many years ago took us to a spot where we harvested our own mussels and then cooked them in wine and garlic in a cauldron over an open fire on the beach. (time may have shaded some of the details of this event but it is one of those magical memories I treasure) Well sated we headed back through Invercargill to that night’s trailer park which was truly a piece of work. Unlike the Top 10 locations we had been staying at, this one catered not only to tourists but also to quite a few permanent residents who no doubt parked their ah, trailers many years ago and it is clear they will never see the open road again. Some were very funky. Others had large dogs chained up in front. I took a few furtive photos which I will share later.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 11:53 am and is filed under New Zealand 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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