For those who don’t know, Bluff is the southernmost mainland town in NZ. Only Stewart Island and a few smaller islands are further south before Antarctica. it is also the oldest European settled community in NZ. We left T5 at the Camp and drove though typical south island wet and extremely windy, not to mention bone-chillingly cold weather to visit the well-known signpost at Stirling Point where I first posed in bike-riding gear 18 years ago, on that first memorable trip round NZ on the back of Dave’s Moto Guzzi.
Stewart Island was only just visible in the distance. A submerged reef in between island and mainland showed its presence with a line of surf.
We repaired to the newish restaurant high above the point where we dined reasonably well in what was obviously a tourist-orientated rather than foodie-orientated establishment …. there was even a complimentary mussel beside my bowl of seafood chowder. It contained some large crunchy prawns, surely Australian? but the waiter didn’t know. People who know me know I detest the prawns-from-other-countries which are usually the only ones available in NZ, which has no native prawns apart from some freshwater ones up in the north island.
Replete, we visited the Pilot Reserve which is a far more interesting part of Stirling Point in my opinion, with a darling little old lighthouse.
Originally the site of a whaling station, the Reserve was set aside for the Pilot Station and houses for the Harbour Master and Pilots – the latter a very important and responsible position.
Another sign explained that despite the assistance from the signal station, channel beacons, harbour master and pilots, all of which helped, .”… an average of two vessels a decade were lost until 1939, most of them small to medium coastal or fishing vessels.”
it was possible to walk right up to the lighthouse along a little gangway with the surf breaking on rocks practically underneath.
At this point my camera ran out of battery power so the photos following are Dave’s. I did manage to get one more in, here’s Dave taking a photo for me – the remains of a stump which was probably once part of an older boardwalk.
In the distance was Tiwai Point:
To one side of the lighthouse was a little cove, once used by the whalers. What a place to build a house – yet with one exception all seemed relatively modest homes.
Driving back through Bluff, which is showing some signs of regeneration in terms of a few more modern shops, these old houses caught my attention. Also a mural on the side of a building. (Yes, the weather was deteriorating again).
We also stopped at a little cemetery just outside town. It looked like most of the inhabitants were Maori, with colourfully decorated graves. There is a special section there dedicated to mariners who died at sea. Some died on other parts of the NZ coastline but their memorial is here.
Back to Invercargill to get ready for the Clan Johnston/e “Meet and Greet”, preparatory for the AGM tomorrow morning, and other festivities.
This is being posted sitting in a little open courtyard near the caravan, the only place with WiFi access apart from the motel office, which is closed. We are not IN the motel, just camped in its grounds, with hot showers, toilets and a laundry available for modest fee. We are hooked up to power so can have the electric heater on all night if we wish!!
That famous Bluff signpost was overrun with tourists when we visited in the New Year. We had to wait while a tourist took photo after photo of her precious kids posing with the sign despite a long queue waiting.
It’s a shame we didn’t know about the light house down the other road, guess e didn’t do enough research about the area.