Stewart Island

Golden Bay

Stewart Island, the 3rd island of New Zealand, lies South of the South Island. It is about the furthest you can get away, without getting ridiculous. The ferry from Bluff brings you to Oban, also known as Halfmoon Bay, the 'capital' of Stewart Island.

Our landlord picked us up at the ferry and drove us around town, so we would be able to find the museum, the pearl centre and bar, the shop and the restaurant. This took about 10 minutes, because the guy was pretty talkative.

Another flower

The anchor chain

In Maori mythology, Stewart Island is the anchor stone which held the canoo (South Island) while catching the big fish (North Island). Here you can see the chain that holds the anchor stone.

Stewart Island is, even more than the rest of New Zealand, a bird sanctuary. Here you have the best chance to see a wild kiwi. You might even see them during daytime, they say. We did a kiwi-spotting tour. In the evening we were brought to a bush and a beach.

This really is a kiwi !! YES, A KIWI !!!!

At first we thought this was a complete fraude: Kiwi's have been extinct for ages, but as long people pay to have a try at spotting them, they continue. Sorry guys, yesterday we saw three of them. But then, at the beach, we saw traces of not only a seal but of a Kiwi as well, and then we spotted the real thing. He (or she, as the guide told us) was kind enough to stay searching for food while we looked at her by the light of a torch. Although you don't see anything on the photo, we really had a good look.


Golden Bay, again

If you would like to see even more birds, you can do a trip to Ulva island, which is made predator free. The boats going there have to check if there are any mice or rats on board, to keep it the bird paradise it already is. We didn't have enough time, we made this photo of a Tui on Stewart island.

We did go to the aquarium, at the pearl centre. The pearls are of the Puau shell, the big blue shell you can find in any shop here. In the aquarium the lady told us everything about the fish and other sea creatures they have: crabs, lobsters, snails, octopus, anemones, sea horses and so on. We were marvelled by the use of pink, maroon, red and orange by all these animals, a little girl would be jealous. And we figured everything in the ocean would be grey.

A lobster


Distelgebeuren. Hoe heet dat in het Engels ?

Not so many years ago, Stewart Island was almost barren because of the logging. As the weather here is good for growing (not too cold and a lot of rain), it is hard to imagine this. The bush seems to be fully recovered.

Red Rara flowers

Paua shell

More shells

We also walked along some beaches. We found a real Puau shell ourselves, and lots of other shells. A lot of other things invited to make pictures, like the patterns formed by darker and lighter sand grains, and the ridges of sand.

Misty beach

Patterns in the sand

Mirjam on a cool Beach

Because of the warm weather during the last weeks, we had some fog during our stay here. Sometimes one bay was covered in fog, and the next would be sunny. We found out it even added to our pictures.

More patterns: nature-as-art !