Thursday, 23 November 2017

Invercargill and the farmlands region 24 November

It may be rude, but I'm having difficulty finding something nice to say about Invercargill. Once upon a time it was a beautiful, bustling town (late 19th century I'm guessing, by the standard of the buildings). Now all I see are empty buildings in decay. Facades proudly display their earlier names, but rotting timbers, rusty roofing iron and tatty posters hanging off walls speak of a depressed economy. It rained overnight and there's a grey pall over the town. I look for photogenic buildings and find the Railway Hotel.

It's not easy finding somewhere to have a coffee either and we settle on Starbucks. Time to leave and drive down to the coast. The countryside changes to rich dairy and sheep farming, with rolling hills and snow-covered mountains as a backdrop. The renowned Kepler Track isn't far away!

Our destination is Riverton, on the coast about 45 minutes south west from Invercargill. It was a bustling port, then a whaling station and timber milling, but the silt built up in the river mouth and made passage for large ships impossible.

There seems to be just one café in town, inside the original post office. Lunch is mediocre and I miss yesterday's Bank Café!

We drive out and up the coast heading towards Te Anau. The snow covers the peaks and I can't believe we were there a few years ago on the Kepler. Across the ocean we see Stewart Island, our next destination to walk the Rakiura Track.


Colac Bay had some surfers waiting patiently - I suspect the townies have their bachs there but everything is still shut as summer is some distance away.

Along the route we see against the skyline cows heading to the milking shed. They are not certain they want to be photographed but the urge to relieve their load of milk overpowers trepidation!

After a much needed coffee stop in a lovingly cared-for house, we head to Gemstone Beach. Rich searches for gold of course, but I'm attracted to the beautiful driftwood.

It has been a pleasing route less travelled. As drinks time approaches, we head back to our motel and time to catch up on social media and some postcard writing!

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