• Penelope Haines

The final, final day! - Day 8

Updated: Jul 23

Alas – late yesterday evening we received an email from Air New Zealand telling us that our flights today were cancelled, and rebooking us on replacement flights 30 hours later. Grrrrr. By this time of course we were looking forward to returning home. A hasty check with the Motel that they could accommodate us for another night; an equally frantic check that we still had carers for the pets and horses back at base for another couple of nights, and we settled down for an unexpected day in Invercargill.


In fairness to Air NZ, I should say that when Cavan walked down to the Motel office to sort the extended booking out, he reported a thick fog was covering everything. So, presumably, our flight, due to depart at 6am hadn’t been able to land the previous evening.


So, Invercargill! First of all, it’s cold. Much colder than Stewart Island! There is frost on the Motel’s grass which lasted the whole day. We walked into the park across the road from the motel, and the duck pond was frozen – we watched several birds landing and skidding along this impromptu, slippery runway!


Fortunately we were well prepared for the chill. We may not have looked the most glamourous of tourists with our hiking boots and warm coats, but we were very comfortable as we walked into the CBD.


It’s been fifty years since I was last here – an 18 year old on my motor scooter. That was the holiday when Cavan and I first met, and by the time we reached Invercargill, a number of us young people had been travelling around the South Island, in a loose grouping, for a couple of weeks or so. Cavan and his travelling companion, Dave, were on their 650cc Triumph which rather outclassed the 150cc Vespa!


I don’t really recall much of Invercargill’s CBD from that trip, and at the moment, they are knocking down a large block for a new development. We checked out Hayes hardware for their motorbike collection – particularly the Bert Munro memorabilia.


We stopped for a cup of warming hot chocolate, before walking down to the transport museum. Those old vehicles are always fascinating, and their condition and maintenance a tribute to the museum. I was taken by the working vehicles – the farm trucks, trailers and transport vehicles. Our old Bedford horse truck would not have seemed out of place!


Finally, a lovely end to the holiday with a meal at the Saucy Chef restaurant.


If the weather gods and Air NZ smile on us, we will be home tomorrow evening