Bluff Hill Environmental Trust
Favorite thing: This is a group which does a great job preserving Bluff Hill’s flora and fauna. Thanks to the location of Bluff (Hill) behind a narrow isthmus it is easier than in other places to trap predators like possums, rats, mustelids, mice, feral cats and hedgehogs.
According to their website http://www.bluffenvirotrust.org/ they work hard to make native species no only survive but thrive on Bluff Hill. This does not only include providing a safe environment for animal species by controlling the above listed animal pests. Also the native forest and native plant species are protected by removing pest weeds. Think of convolvulus…
Volunteers carry out trapping and monitoring. Unfortunately they face similar problems as other volunteer groups in the whole of New Zealand with brain-dead vandals who destroy trapping boxes or kick them down the cliffs.
Without such dedicated people we would not be able to enjoy the great environment Bluff Hill offers to its visitors and to the locals who heavily use the hill for walking, running and mountainbiking. And the resident dogs at their office on Gore Street is one of the friendliest I have ever seen ;-))
The luggage maniac
Favorite thing: I just have to post this photo ;-)
As you might have read in my tip about the Stewart Island ferry, every passenger is allowed two pieces of luggage – which usually is a big suitcase or backback and some kind of hand luggage.
Every passenger places his check-in luggage into metal containers that hold about ten pieces of luggage. You just have to remember the number of your container and at the end of the trip you go to the same container and take your suitcase or backpack out, and within a minute or less you are done.
Not so when this man and his wife/partner travelled from Stewart Island to Bluff on the same ferry as my husband and I.
I had a big suitcase, so some smaller items were placed on top of it and I had to wait a little while until these items were picked up by their owners. No problem – until this man arrived. You would not have had to tell me that he was German. I knew it because being German myself I know that a certain kind of German travellers are the most inconvenient, pedestrian, laborious, intricate, circuitous, long-winded and cumbersome travellers on earth. (Just some translations for the multi-faceted German word “umständlich”…)
I said to my husband that I knew he was German without having heard him say a word. Later he did (to his wife). I would have bitten off my tongue before talking to him because I did not want to be measured by the same stick and driving someone to the conclusion that all Germans are as embarrassing as this guy.
He knew how embarrassing he was because he once or twice smiled awkwardly at me, telling me without words that he was not able to change into a higher gear to retrieve his luggage. I was boiling and did my best not to explode from rage and strangle him (not necessarily in this order).
I think I have never seen any traveller with so many single items in his hands, in addition to the big luggage he had. Had I had access to my suitcase I would have donated him a reusable grocery bag, so he could have stored his rubbish into it.
Instead of leaving the multitude of items with his wife they both started poking around in the luggage containers, and in order to be able to fully dive into the depth of the container he placed all his stuff in front of MY container from which I could have retrieved my suitcase within two seconds, had he not built a barrage which blocked any access for other people – which in this case was only me.
In detail the barrage of hand luggage contained:
One trekking backpack, black
One trekking backpack, grey with yellow top, with a towel attached (for the case he would have sweated while retrieving his luggage)
One photo bag, medium-sized
One photo bag, small
One tripod, huge
One plastic bag of fresh fruit
Believe me, the busy couple needed even longer to load everything into their rental car. Lucky us they had parked in a different row at the secure carpark, so they could not block our car. If you ever see Germans who need five times as long as you for getting their luggage sorted, ask them if they have been to Stewart Island in February 2012.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is... when I could finally grab my suitcase :-))))