As per our usual holiday we decided that we wanted to do a geocache. We can’t have a holiday and not do a geocache. Given that we are here we had to locate on in Invercargil or on the Bluff. So it is the Bluff. Bluff a fishing community just out from Invercargill. It is most well known for its oysters and crayfish (spiny lobster). It is a peninsula and also hosts the harbour for the Stewart Island Ferry. The one we’ll be taking tomorrow.
As we left our hotel we noticed that the clouds were coming in. The forecast said it was going to rain, so we did our little peace offer tot he raingods to keep it away for the day. We started our walk in a great fashion. We got ourselves a nice coffee and an oysterpei. Yes oysterpie. It sounded so outlandish that we had to try it. It was actually very nice and contained one large oyster. I cut it well in that I managed a 50/50 separation.
After that sustenence we went of to the cache starting point. Well that was easy enough to find. It was the end of the road (we are making a habit of that) without it turning into a gravel road. After having enjoyed the views for a bit we found a huge sculpture. Kind hard ot miss but still. The sculpture is of an anchor chain. The other side of the chain is on Stewart island. It is a symbol that Stewart Island may be far away it is still part of NZ It is also part of Maori legend. The legend of Maui
So we headed off finding our way. The path went upward, but not too steep. We saw some nice view points and found some WWII defense bunkers. The first clue was easy to find and from there we went to Waypoint 2, just 2km further down ………….a steep path with lots of hairpin bends. It was so steep that it had stairs on a regular basis. And it was nice, lots and lots of birdnoise was coming from the trees. In part is due to community effort to keep predators (rats etc.) at bay. In between those trees we noticed that the wind was increasing a bit and that we had an occasional drop of water land on our heads. Though it seemed steep the actual height difference was only 300m and it was a nice walk just wearing out t-shirts and carrying lots of clothes in our backpacks.
And then we turned the last corner in the forest and out of the backpacks came all those additional clothes. The difference was amazing. All of a sudden we also noticed where some of that weirder birdnoise came from. It was no bird. it was the wind that blew around the radar installation poles turning it onto a huge flute. We had to go up to the lookout for our next clues and we nearly blew off that circular road every time we turned it. I had to hold on to my glasses as I was afraid they’d blow off my head. As soon as we found a less intense wind area we sat down to determine our next waypoint. As expected it was on the way down toward the parking area. So off we went down hill again. This way was steep, very steep. A whole staircase was built up agianst the hill making it feasible for non climbers like us to get there. But it needs to be said it is easy walking then on those stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs we also left the forest again. The forest protects well against the wind we found. Again we got the full gale winds in our face. The wind had increased but it was still dry and not cold so quite doable. The sea, you know we have to cross tomorrow, was angry with lots and lots of whitehead waves. The gale was intensifying and I felt like i was being blown over a few times. SO even walked up to a lookout, but did not dare taking a picture as he was afraid he’d loose the camera. Around that time I got fed up with holding my glasses so I took them off. At least then they can’t blow away. The drawback of a lightweight frame 🙂
The path continued down the cliffs and we were ever so grateful that the prevailing wind was blowing us onto the cliff not toward sea. Yelling at each other to make ourselves heard it was a mission. SO had to tie back his hair as it was blowing into his face and ghe barely saw where he was going. Finally we reached the cachepoint. SO had to climb up the hill from the path but it was relatively easy. We left our clogs and our travelbug.
From there it was walking back to the car. Thankfully this walk primarily was on the low wind side of the hill. Mind you after a 10km walk hill up and down in the wind we were kinda done with it. Thankfully there was a restaurant at the parking area where we had some fish before returning to our hotel. The forecast is that the gale force winds will die down overnight. Let’s hope so, otherwise the Foveaux crossing will not be fun.