Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hanging out on Stewart Island

View of Oban from motel
Kakas on our balcony
 When we took a cruise on Doubtful Sound and shared with the crew that we planned a one-night stay on Stewart Island, they said that we absolutely must stay at least two nights.  So, we did!  Stewart Island is a natural oasis the size of Singapore with about 400 full-time residents living in the one town of Oban.  Most of the island is either a national park, or wild life reserve with an endless number of tracks for day or overnight tramping.  We took a water taxi to Ulva Island nearby, that is a bird sanctuary with many well-maintained trails - spent about four hours there.  Between the isolation and the absence of predators, the birds were unusually comfortable with humans and the vegetation was very unique.  We also took a late evening boat ride to another side of Stewart Island for some "kiwi spotting".  Kiwis, with the body size of large turkeys, are diurnal, but the best time to spot them is at night when they can't see us - otherwise, they are quite elusive.  The town of Oban looked like a Scotland village from about 30 years ago - absolutely charming, with dogs ambling around, cars and pickups no newer than 1980, kakas the size of parrots, and one great pub. 

Kiwi feeding on the beach

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