Cruising Through Southland
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really think I would like Invercargill. The only reason we wanted to travel there was to say we had been to the bottom of the country (pitiful reason, I know).
But as it turns out, God had some amazing surprises waiting for us down there!
We drove through Queenstown on the way there, stopping for some pictures on the waterfront. Queenstown might be the adventure capital of the world, but since we didn’t have the desire (nor the budget) for bungy jumping or skydiving, there wasn’t much else for us in Queenstown other than a great burger from Fergburger on Shotover Street.
Knowing that Invercargill wasn’t full of gorgeous tramping trails, shining lakes, or majestic mountains, we figured we would just cruise on through, stopping at the lookout in Bluff for some pictures.
When we were in Nelson over Easter, we met a fantastic couple at Freedom Church who later invited us over for coffee. They asked if we would be traveling to Invercargill, and if we were, that we should stay with her parents. We took her up on the offer for the 2 nights we would be there.
Diane & Fala immediately made us feel like family! I can hardly believe we only stayed there 2 nights–it feels like we must have known them at least a year or two!
Fala is Samoan, so he fixed an amazing Samoan meal the next day. I’m drooling just looking at the pictures.
Interestingly enough, he didn’t speak English when he came to New Zealand from Samoa in the 1960s. It was Diane who taught him when they met! His English is very good now, and I wonder if it’s his Samoan accent amidst all the Kiwis that helped him understand Drew when he spoke. I think Fala understood everything Drew said with no problem at all!
We visited Invercargill Christian Centre on Sunday morning, and whoa–the Holy Spirit is alive and well there! We were reminded of our church, Grace Center, and felt right at home. We even went back for the Sunday evening service for more worship and teaching. Talk about an overflow of Life!
In the afternoon, we did what we came to Southland to do and drove down to Bluff. Iconic Highway 1 ends (or begins, whichever way you want to look at it) in Bluff. We literally just drove until we could drive no more.
Little Blessing chugged to the top of Bluff hill where we could barely stand up in the gales of wind! Looking back at New Zealand from the (almost) most southern point was quite an experience.
On Monday morning we said our ‘see you laters’ to Diane & Fala and headed on to Dunedin, taking the scenic route through the Catlins. We decided to take a bit of a detour to see the lighthouse at Nugget Point, where we hoped we would also find some fur seals and yellow-eyed penguins (the rarest penguin in the world!) Unfortunately there were no seals to be seen and the penguins were all out hunting for food at this time of year. But the view was incredible!
Invercargill may have been mostly flat, boring land and treeless streets until we drove through the Catlins, but we would jump at the chance to visit New Zealand’s southern city again!
View more pictures of our experience on Facebook!