A long way south

It was a spur of the moment decision to visit Stewart Island, New Zealand's 3rd and most southerly. There are 400 permanent residents, possibly 401 as the latest arrival was announced on the islanders shop blackboard. The telephone directory is a one sided laminated sheet and no one seems to bother to lock anything, after all it can't go far. . . . .Oban, the village , curves itself around the beautiful Halfmoon Bay.the 22 kilometres of road meanda up and around a few of the stunning bays.. Once Don, our 81 yr old host , had settled us in to the holiday cottage, given us a tour of the village and the car keys , we got ready for our next adventure.
Furhana, of Raggedy Range, was our wonderfully knowledgeable guide for our 4 hr birding trip to Ulva Island. Moving quietly through the pristine forest , Furhana found Karaka, Riflemen, Saddlebacks, Yellowheads, Red headed Parakeets, Yellow headed Parakeets, Tui's, a Morepork, NZ Robins, Tomtits, Brown Creepers, Grey Warblers and a Pigeon! That evening was spent in the Pub (the only Pub) eating Blue Cod and Chips, the best in NZ, if not the world, and our first outing to a Pub since we left Edinburgh. Our accommodation overlooks another of the beautiful isolated beaches. Its definitely a few degrees colder this far south so having a wood burner is icing on the cake. . . .
The next morning we tried out our new found birdspotting skills as we explored more deserted coves and sandy bays. Then it was time to assemble at Golden Bay for the next adventure, half a day of Pelagic bird watching, something you might think we have done rather a lot of already, but not around Stewart Island. Some of the proper birders amongst the group showed their true colours as they identified Spotted, Black, Pied, Stewart, juvenile and White Throated Shags, Shearwaters of every shape and name known to man and then Albatrosses; Hundreds of them, following our boat as the captain fed them the remains of the mornings catch. Offically known as The Bullers Mollyhawk and the Shy Mollyhawk these spectacular fliers are coastal birds, {unlike the magnificent Northern and Southern Royals that travel the southern oceans and stay at sea for 5 years before coming ashore to breed,} amazing. . . .
We just had to have Blue Cod and chips again, well we hadn't had chips since Christmas either!
Panic was setting in of the thought that tomorrow we would have to leave this wonderful place without even scratching the surface, we have to come back.
Annoyingly we have to spend a few hours finding and using the internet the next morning, house stuff, but at least we get to visit a few more deserted coves before the ferry leaves. . .
As instructed by Don, we leave the car in the middle of the high street, just opposite the Pub with the keys in at 1pm. The ferry leaves at 3pm so we just have time to watch a screening of 'An Islanders Tail", narrated by a dog, before we board the ferry. The despondency of leaving was elevated slightly by Great White Shark spotting, as the Captain had seen 'yet another one' on the previous crossing. . . . .