The only way is North

(This is the first of two blogs in this bumper, end-of-year, edition). 

We are ending the year ‘tramping’ on Stewart Island, which lies off the southern part of New Zealand in the Southern Ocean.  I think I can confidently predict that wherever we go from here during our ‘gap year’ will be north from where we are currently located!

We have travelled to this remote paradise with Sally’s sister and brother-in-law with whom we spent Christmas too.  New Year’s eve will see us back in Oban which is the main (indeed the only) town on the island after a three day tramp through the relatively unspoiled bush.  

Downtown Oban

Stewart Island is also one of the few places that kiwis survive in the wild but so far they have proved elusive. Mind you most wildlife had remained elusive to my untrained eye as I stagger along under the weight of my rucksack consumed with thoughts of which bit of me hurts the most, rather than taking time to look around! I guess that is a pretty good metaphor for how a lot of us spend our lives. 🙄
At the first hut we stayed at I was somewhat alarmed to hear the ranger tell us that unlike Alaska where he comes from we wouldn’t find any beer in New Zealand.  I was also puzzled as to why everyone else thought that was good news until I realised they were talking about bears (at times the Kiwi accent is quite impenetrable).  I then became alarmed once again to discover there wasn’t any beer either, so we are tee total until New Year’s  eve. ☹ 

We also took time out to visit an even more remote island, Ulva, which is alive with bird life that is largely protected from predators such as rats and possums and other man-introduced imposters and hence innocently inquisitive. You spend all day creeping around trying to get a picture of a weka and one comes up and pecks you on the boot while you are talking on the beach! Kiwi are less sociable though. 

One overly familiar weka
Words cannot really describe how special this place is so here are some pictures instead.  We wish you a happy New Year and hope you will stick with us on our journey through 2018 (and maybe even join us for part of it when we take to the canals back in the UK).

Stewart Island
For those like me who have always wanted to see an albatross … here are two together!
Dusk in Halfmoon Bay
Sunset over Golden Bay
Our taxi to the island

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5 Comments on “The only way is North”

  1. Great to read your update as we sit in Denver CO for a few days with our family over New Year. So you have a happy one too!

  2. Wow – what an amazing adventure

    Soo pleased – it sounds awesome and the photos are perfect – can almost smell the sea air..

    Missing you guys xx

  3. Ian

    Happy new year to you and Sally. Thanks for the wonderful write ups and photos.

    I have just retro-blogged one about you, with links to a couple of others about you, which you might enjoy in a quiet moment:

    Hope you are sheltering from the sweltering and having a wonderful time.

    I’ll ponder on your second piece of the day, but I think that one could use a chat over a bottle of wine rather than a blog comment, so i’ll save that for after your gap year.

    With very best wishes


  4. My daughter was in Queenstown today bungey jumping so look forward to photos of you both doing the same??! Continue to go north and adventure in hope.

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