Friday, 14th December – Queenstown to Invercargill

Very sad to leave Queenstown. A beautiful spot and full of life. Don’t feel we’ve really done it justice, but at least we’ve been here! We’ve been unlucky with the weather, particularly as it was a lovely sunny start when we left.

Final shot of the hotel lobby – it is a very nice hotel.

Jean was still not firing on all cylinders and was starting a cold, so we decided to go straight to Invercargill so that we could check in (hopefully) and rest up a bit.

Uneventful two and a half hour drive through some very nice country, but it got noticeably less hilly as we drove south. By the time we got to Invercargill itself, it was fenland flat. Very different terrain.

Fortunately, when we checked into the Ascot Park Hotel (there is a racecourse nearby) our room was ready and had recently been refurbished. Very nice, large, well-appointed room with a queen bed each! The hotel itself looks good, too.

Took a short drive around Invercargill, a town of some 55,000 souls. Very pleasant, with some older looking buildings in the centre, and all again very low-rise. It also occupies a very large area – well spread out as per most small towns in both Australia and New Zealand. They have the room. Not sure what there is to do here, mind….. In fact, subsequent to this post, we’ve heard from an unimpeachable source that Invercargill is boring!

Very nice bar meal and an earlyish night. We’re due to catch a light plane flight to Oban, the “capital” of Stewart Island tomorrow, but not until around 1 p.m., so a leisurely start to the morning. Staying at Stewart Island Lodge for two nights, then back to this hotel in Invercargill on Monday night.

Limited to 15 kg check-in baggage, so some work to be done there before we turn in!

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