The Great Southern Route : 2008 - 2009
the cruise across to Stewart Island is 70 miles. As this area can be the roughest wind torn space of water in the southern hemisphere, it is important to pick the weather for the crossing, most of the time it will be a south westerly air flow, but often these fronts come up from the southern latitudes and can be very fierce. Stewart Island is very quiet, and as 85 per cent of the Island is National Park, its clear green waters and lush rainforest, sweeping sands and Flora and Fauna is a protected experience for all to enjoy. Numerous parts of the island are bird sanctuaries and the New Zealand "Kiwi" can be found here. The area has an abundance of wildlife, walking tracks and fishing. Bird watchers from all corners of the globe visit Stewart Island for its uniqueness. The main harbour and town is Oban, a very quiet little fishing village that has all the necessities for a short stay on the island, and there is a regular air and sea service to the town of Bluff. From Stewart Island the really adventurous could head south to the roaring Fifties and Sub-Antarctic Islands. Sitting below 50 degrees south and approx 200 miles south of Stewart Island, this is truly an adventure for the experienced yachtsman, the area is abundant with sea life, and it has been described as the "Galapagos of the Southern Ocean". The anchorage in the Auckland Islands is completely land-locked with excellent protection. For the treasure hunter looking for the shipwreck full of gold -- this is the place. The wreck of the "General Grant", a fully rigged ship of 1,103 tons, London bound from Melbourne in May 1866, is there after she crashed into the towering cliffs on the west coast of the main island of the group. Her manifest included wool, skins, pelts, and spelter, but it was the gold bullion in her cargo which persuaded shippers to insure it for £165,000... From Stewart Island heading north it is 150 miles to Dunedin and then a further 150 to Banks Peninsula, is the harbour of Akaroa. This is a one hour drive from Christchurch which is an attractive area with lots of festivals, art galleries, museums and yes, churches. Christchurch was first settled by the French in the 19th century before New Zealand was officially claimed by the British. Even today you find the main streets retain their French heritage and some of the early forms of architecture relate to those early days. Often regarded as the Riviera of Christchurch for its bays and cobalt blue waters, Akaroa is a major vacation and weekend retreat. The final destination for the guests could be Stewart Island or Christchurch, providing the weather is settled the run up the east coast from Stewart island to Akaroa could be very enjoyable. Private jets can land at most of the major airports in the South Island and there is regular air service to Auckland.
2010 - 2011