Invercargill, New Zealand (9th Mar 2008)
Milford Sound to Invercargill
Driver: MarkDistance Travelled: 330.9 Km / 205.7 Miles
Accumulative Distance: 1626.7 Km / 1011.0 Miles
The drive from Milford Sound to Invercargill took us on the same road back through Te Anau but this time the weather was a lot nicer so we could really appreciate our surroundings as we weaved round the twisty roads. We passed back through Homer Tunnel and this time we could see the top of the snow capped mountains as we emerged and the sun shone down on us. Once we passed Te Anau the roads regained some kind of normality, almost to the point of boredom with mile after mile stretching out straight in front of us, surrounded by green fields filled with more sheep and cows than either of us had ever seen in our whole lives!
We arrived in Invercargill and instantly liked what we saw, even though it was already five in the evening and everywhere was closed. We saw that there was a nice looking park called Queen's Park and a library so we knew we could fill up the next day pretty easily. There was no chance of parking up in town so we took the scenic road towards Bluff and found a nice little secluded spot just off the main road that would do us for the night.
Again we meant to get up early but since we knew we would be in Invercargill another night we decided to have a bit of a lie in. It wasn't the most eventful day we have had so far by any stretch of the imagination but it was nice to slow the pace down a little bit and not worry about getting to our next destination right away. In the morning we replenished our food and drink supply in the local supermarket and spent a few hours in the very impressive library catching up with the blog and again charging up the camera battery When Mark grew bored and frustrated with the silence of the library we went to have a look about town and found our second 'Robo Toilet' of the day. Now we are not sure if this is the actual name for them but they seemed so technologically advanced that the name suited! The toilet opened via a button on the outside and then closed via a button on the inside. Once inside a booming voice welcomed you in and informed you that you had ten minutes to do your business before an intruder alarm would be activated. This was followed shortly by a relaxing piece of music. The technology continued as the soap, water and dryer were all activated on a sensor and only when you had washed your hands would you be allowed out! Finally the toilet bud you a farewell and informed any waiting people that the toilet was now vacant. A far cry from the usual public toilets we're sure you would agree!
Lunchtime was probably the most eventful and fun time of the day. We pulled up in a car park near the park and settled down to have some crisp sandwiches for lunch. As soon as the bread was opened we realised we had company as tens of seagulls, followed shortly by ducks, surrounded us. This only got worse when Mark decided he was the new Dr Doolittle again and started feeding them crisps and bread, forging a real connection with them. Every time we thought they had gone away they came back, chasing each other around, waddling from side to side fighting for that prize piece of bread. Mark must have felt sorry for them as soon he was cutting up chunks of cheese and throwing it across the grass, soon fed up with this though he launched the rest of the huge chunk of cheese at a distant spot for them to enjoy once they had finished off all the scraps of bread and crisps that were all around the van.
Our afternoon in Invercargill ended with a visit to Queen's Park. After messing around in huge trees we were pleased to stumble upon an animal reserve and although it was closed we still got a good look at some of the animals. There was a pathway that hugged the perimeter of the reserve and through the electric fence we saw a stag with his two lady friends, a huge black pig, a cute sheep, chickens and even little rabbits and guinea pigs in smaller enclosures. As the camera battery we had on us ran out of juice we felt it a good time to get back to our van and get everything sorted ready for another early morning departure.