Our first stop in this region will be under greyness sky of McCracken’s lookout where, after a few minutes of patience, we will see for the first time the Hector dolphins one of the world’s smallest cetaceans and a new-zealand emblematic specie. The greyness of the day will not spoil it, this meeting will have delighted it.
We will continue our journey to Monkey Island, where we will fish blue mussels and try, without success, to have fish before spending the night at Colac bay in front of the sea.
Here we are in the Southland region most important city, but certainly not the one where we have been the most welcome. We quickly realized that speaking French on the street or in the shops costed us small look and not very kind comments. However, far from disconcerting, we chose to enjoy our visit as it should.
World fastest museum
It was in New Zealand that we had the pleasure of discovering the history of Burt Munro thanks to the movie “The world’s fastest Indian“. Originally from the city of Invercargill, this man managed, against all odds, to reach a spectacular speed record thanks to his bike, an old Indian, which he had well modify. So naturally we wanted to discover the machine in question, proudly exhibited in a store / museum with other collector vehicles.
During our visit of the city we also went to walk in its imposing park of a great diversity and full of charms. Between the pretty rose garden, the animal sanctuary, the Japanese garden, the mini-golf and the café, there is something here to spend a pleasant moment of relaxation or activity. Also at the entrance is a commemorative bronze statue of Mr. Munro.
Southland museum & art gallery
Right next to the park, it’s possible to visit the region museum for free and discovering cultural, institutional, historical and even natural, thanks to the Tuatara observation. Emblematic New Zealand lizards, this specie has almost been extinct and it stays only a few specimens in the wild.
There is no big interest in pushing further south to the small town of Bluff, except to take a picture at “Stirling Point” with its directional signs pointing to international cities.
Disabuse you, Stirling Point is not the southernmost point of the South Island, this place comes back to Slope point.
It’s also possible to climb the Bluff hill viewpoint to observe the surrounding area and look out over the clear horizon to Stewart Island.
We finally leave Invercargill surroundings to head towards the Catlins National Park. On the road along the coast, we will make a first stop at the beautiful Waipapa lighthouse, it’s here that we will make our first meeting with the imposing sea lions. We will cross there only two specimens which will quickly point their noses out of the water and that was already a good glimpse of their stature.
Slope point – Southest point
It was after a few minutes of walking from the parking area that we reached the southernmost point of the South Island, better known as Slope point. A small piece of land lost between pastures covered with sheep and ending by a vertiginous cliff above the sea.
Nothing exceptional, but it’s simply pleasant to think “I went there”.
This is our brief overview about this part of Southland, a pleasant visit for which we didn’t have a big crush, perhaps because of a lack of deepening. The coastal road remains pleasant, although sometimes chaotic, since it’s mostly gravel roads, and opens perfectly the door to the Catlins National Park.