With the morning being a whirlwind of noise, Lauren and I decided to go for a walk after breakfast. With no real direction in mind we just started wandering the streets of Invercargill. At this point we still had approximately 5 hrs before we caught our bus to Te Anau.
We passed by the familiar streets with the shops that we had already visited and continued down a few residential streets. Along the way we went to cross an intersection and I spotted water in the distance. Since we were just wandering anyways, we headed in that direction. When we reached the road just before we spotted a trail, with a signage board containing a map and some information about the area. We had only been gone about 20 minutes at this point so we chose the smallest track called the loop track at 3.5 km and chose a direction.
The estuary we were walking alongside was spotted with heaps of Black Swans swimming about.
The track was not too busy at all which was nice. We walked alongside one another just listening to the birds and the wind rushing through tall grasses. When we rounded to the other side of the estuary the loop track cut almost directly through the center, with the path narrowing and eventually opening up to a bridge. Just before the bridge I had asked Lauren to take a photo of me so I had gone ahead towards the bridge and turned around. Just after she took the photo and began walking out onto the bridge the wind scooped her hat right off her head and floated down into the water. It had happened so quickly that there was no time to react and catch it.
I watched it for second and watched Lauren's face drop, and with the direction of the water it was headed under the bridge across to the other side. I quickly climbed down the rocks to the edge in hopes that it would come close enough for me to grab. Instead it floated right down the middle. The water was only ankle deep and the current not strong at all. Her hat had flowed right under the bridge and proceeded to get stuck on the row of rocks where the water was spilling over into the main flow of water. I offered to go get it but by the time I had taken my shoes off and waded over stepping carefully on the rocky bottom the hat had just slipped away from its captivity and continued on floating down wind. I waded back over and Lauren helped me out of the water before continuing to follow it along the side of the path. Eventually the wind had pushed it back close enough towards shore that we were able to catch it. The hat had finally been rescued, sopping wet and a little slimy but non the less it was safe in Lauren's hands.
We continued down the path onto the winding board walk, leaning slightly as we took each step as the wind was quite strong cutting across the water and rushing past us. Soon we had made it back to where we started and began making our way back in order to make lunch before making the journey back to the museum where the intercity bus stop was.
We filled our afternoon by wandering around the museum, checking out the various exhibits they had to offer. The majority of them focusing on New Zealand's wildlife, while the others featured world war 1 stories, Victoria styles, and paintings & old photographs of Invercargill. It was all very interesting, especially the Tuatara rehabilitation unit where they displayed Henry the oldest living tuatara also known as the famous savour of the species.
By the time we made it through the entire museum it was almost time to hop on the bus to Te Anau, where we met Juan and the friendly bus driver who told us all about the features of the mountains in Te Anau and a few other areas on the islands.
Bus ride facts:
Rea - flooded by the seas, earthquakes (Malbourough Sounds)
Milford Sound - formed by glaciers (gneiss)
Lake Tapao - caldera, largest lake surface area (north island)