Invercargill New Zealand

Southland


Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

My virtual “tour” of New Zealand now brings me to its southern most point.

The region of Southland is a land of rugged coast and rolling plains, world-renowned Bluff oysters and the launching place for a visit to Stewart Island. (New Zealand’s third small sometimes overlooked Island)

Southland’s largest centre is Invercargill. As a garden lover I enjoyed seeing Queens Park and its 80 hectares of tree-lined walkways and diverse gardens. The city turns on the hospitality so, here I plenty of friendly people to meet along my travels.

Half an hour from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff.  Bluff is one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand. I go there to enjoy the scent of the sea and the rugged character of an oystering port. Known for its fabulous seafood, this is the place to taste the world famous Bluff oysters. The oyster season runs from March to August, and in May the locals put on a lively festival to honour this delectable treat from the sea.

Bluff is also the place to catch a ferry to Stewart Island where you’ll find a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you have a fair chance of seeing kiwi in their native habitat.



Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle
Image by Alistair McLellan from Pixabay

During a recent trip to Dunedin I visited New Zealand’s only castle which is an important and much loved piece of Dunedin history. Built in 1871 by William Larnach, a merchant and politician born of Scottish parents, Larnach Castle is absolutely stunning, it has been carefully restored to its original Victorian grandeur, and its beautiful rooms and magnificent gardens are open to the public 365 days a year. The castle boasts a 3,000 square foot ballroom, which hosts high teas, and a tower commanding sweeping views of the picturesque Otago Peninsula

Dunedin most definitely has a stately Scottish feel to it, from the architecture, shops and street signs which pay homage as well as bars that proudly present their own selection of malts and whiskeys. Golf courses, pipe bands and the Highlanders rugby team are just a few of the many examples of the loud-and-proud Scottish identity on show.

They even have their own Haggis (traditional Scottish meal) ceremonies using local fine produce.

So the unique piece of New Zealand Jewellery which most reminds me of Dunedin is:

Scottie Dog Charm GCH15 Often owned by celebrities, the 32nd president of the USA was Franklin D Roosevelt who had Fala and Meggie. Other USA presidents to have Scotties were Dwight Eisenhower with Telek and George w Bush with Barney and Miss Beazley. I hadn’t realised that David Bowie also had a Scottie.

Our cute wee Scottie Dog Charm is actually modelled on these steadfastly loyal dogs which the “Mother” and “Father” of our Ariki family have owned over the years. So what a better way to acknowledge this very special breed of dog than to have your very own Scottie Dog charm on your own bracelet.

Paua Scottie Dog Charm - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery
spherical stones

Moeraki Boulders

spherical stones
Image by Bernd Hildebrandt from Pixabay

You simply can’t drive along the North Otago coast without stopping to stare at the Moeraki Boulders – they’re amazing!

Mysterious spherical stones lay scattered across the beach. Each boulder weighs several tonnes and is up to two metres high. Scientists explain the boulders as calcite concretions formed about 65 million years ago. But according to our Native New Zealand people the Māori legend, the boulders are gourds washed ashore from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand hundreds of years ago.

Early morning and late afternoon are the prime times for photography, when brilliant soft sunlight is cast across the rocks; making for spectacular photographic opportunities. Other times, such as when storms are rolling in, provide an atmosphere and scene that can’t be matched anywhere else in New Zealand, or the world!

Dunedin

Dunedin, New Zealand

We are very nearly at the end of what I hope you have found an interesting “trip around” New Zealand.

My next instalment brings me to Dunedin, a region of unique landscapes and fascinating cultural history.  Here I enjoy getting close to rare wildlife and soaking up the quirky city vibe.

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country’s city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

I never miss any opportunity to drive up the Otago Peninsula – the views are endless and the beaches are beautifully rugged. On Dunedin’s doorstep you will also find incredible wildlife including the world’s rarest penguin colonies.

Just minutes from the central city is the sweeping white-sand beach of St Clair, it is a popular spot for surfing, swimming, walking, socialising or just dining out in the sunshine enjoying the wonderful view or watch the world go by.

Facing the wild blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, St Clair Beach boasts New Zealand’s most consistent surf break and on any given day, summer or winter, the waves are a playground for local surfers.

But I love to relax at the end of the beach where sits the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, which dates back to 1884 and is one of the only heated seawater pools in New Zealand.

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound
Image by Lasse Holst Hansen from Pixabay

Sometimes called the ‘Sound of Silence’ Doubtful Sound is the deepest (421 metres) and second longest (40 kilometres) of the South Island’s fiords.
Visiting here is a much more remote experience than at the sometimes busy Milford Sound. It is your ultimate “digital detox” destination. No Wi-Fi or phone access allows you to immerse yourself in the beautiful nature that surrounds you.

Doubtful Sound has provide me with the opportunity to see dolphins, fur seals and other rare wildlife such as the albatross, penguins, and whales,
To fully experience the beauty and remoteness of Doubtful Sound I spent both days and nights on a boat and it wasn’t uncommon during my stay to see a pod of curious and playful dolphins around the boats at dawn.

So of course the piece of unique New Zealand Ariki jewellery which reminds me of this enchanting region is:

Paua Dolphin Pendant in ring - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

GP887/PO887 Dolphin Pendant in ring

The Dolphin’s playful nature is a reminder that everyone needs to play sometimes just for the sheer joy of it. They remind us to take some time out of our busy lives to experience life like a child does. Our sleek elegant piece of jewellery portraying a playful dolphin embellished with colourful Paua Shell and diving through a ring portrays this sense of freedom.