The world that we know is so interesting and once you start travelling you end up getting more and more filling-up your bucket-list. One of those items in my bucket list was reaching the southernmost point of human habitation. So, technically I should be writing this post about Puerto Williams (Chile), however, till I do put my foot in Puerto Williams (Chile) I am quite happy at reaching the southernmost point of human habitation, other than in South America! Bluff is a small town in New Zealand situated at 46°36′S 168°20′E / 46.600°S 168.333°E / -46.600; 168.333. Yeah, thats the technical bit 😀
The Starting Point & The Drive
We drove to Bluff from Queenstown early in the morning in a rented car. We passed through some of the most picturesque locations on earth! The drive itself is an amazing memory on its own. The road is very well maintained and stretches for miles and miles without a soul to be seen or a car to be crossed. However, you have to be careful with your speed limit as there are detectors throughout the route.
Little breaks to stretch the limbs…
The drive from Queenstown to Bluff is 217 kms (approx) and takes 2 – 2 1/2 hours & we drove casually enjoying the sights and sounds and it was lovely. We stopped at a small town for using the loo, which was quite clean despite being a public toilet! My son had fun playing in the nearby playground! We drove further south towards Invercargill and stopped there for our breakfast. Yes, we started the journey in the wee hours just at dawn! Invercargill is a beautiful little town founded in the 1850’s and with a population of around 54,000.
After a break of around an hour at Invercargill we proceeded to Bluff, which is around 30 kms away. You can see a remarkable change in the landscape and vegetation as you drive from Queenstown to Bluff. Now the vegetation has become more shrub type and the wind is more sharp and sudden.
Reaching Bluff was easier part of the story, the tougher part was finding the ‘southernmost point’! So, the google came to the rescue but mind you, driving in Bluff is quite risky with such steep inclines and very few traffic lights around! Finally, we reached our must-sought destination! Voila!
There were few other interesting things that I noticed here and the most interesting was this HUGE chain running from the landmass to the sea. I asked around and searched around and came to know that this steel sculpture was created by Russell Beck. The other end of the chain is in the coast of Stewart Island at Lee Bay. These chains portrays the mythological link between the waka (canoe) of Maui and the anchor stone.
And we tried very hard to ensure that the anchor chain doesn’t slip into the oceans! See! We did actually try pretty hard! Promise! 😉
While we were enjoying our day at Bluff in our T-shirts & tops we hardly expected to be chilled to bones. However, after around 30 mins of our time at this point the climate suddenly changed that the temperature dropped from 15 C to 3 C within 5 minutes! We hardly got time to get our jackets out of the car! Later in I came to know from the locals that Bluff gets two set of winds, one from the north (which is warm) and another from the south (the wind from Antarctica). When the wind from Antarctica hits the temperature can rapidly fall! Ah, so now I know! So, all bundled up and freezing we climbed to the vantage point for our final leg of our trip to Bluff… to see as south as possible!
After a great day at Bluff and some sumptuous New Zelandian lunch we returned to Queenstown and reached in the evening. It was one the most fun road trip I ever took and I recommend it to everyone!
Till my next post, ‘ngahau’!