After finishing the North West Circuit I stayed in Invercragill for a few days. I quite liked it. The houses all seem to be pre-1950 and south of Tay St they are all awful dumps on 300 sq.m. from 1900 because someone decided they needed to put The Poor somewhere. The rest of the houses are all about $170 000 and I could buy a block of flats for what a 3 bedroom house costs in Auckland.
There is a massive park in the middle of the city with a decent (if old) fitness trail, gardens, aviary, museum, farm animal zoo and golf course?! The museum is decent and has tuatara.
The aviary is intersting. There is an enormous cage full of peacocks, cockatiels and budgies that you can walk through. Budgies?! If you don’t like that they have cages full of native birds, including a kaka that was caught in a trap and now has a peg leg.
If that’s not enough you can go to the farm animal area, with pigs, chickens, deer, and rabbits. Yes, they are breeding rabbits.
To clear my mind of this madness I proceeded to the Zen garden.
After that I went to my must-visit in any place.
I wandered about the town, visiting the hospice shop and then finding what from the outside looked like another hospice shop, with porcelain nic-nacs and plates in the window.
It is, in fact, the best shop in the universe. The kitchen section even has gem irons and cookie scoops. You can buy a Homburg hat or a stock whip or work gloves. The whole top floor is camping gear and has a man sitting behind a window painted with ‘Pay Accounts Here’ in gold leaf. And it has hardware. The other shops are decent and there are about 5 camping shops. I was, however, taken by their symbol of modernity:
Invercargill is like a Steiner school inasmuch as people only open when they want to. The main street has a number of emporiums (their word, not mine) that open at the most random hours (3-5, 8-10, 1-3 etc) that if you do see them open go in immediately!
There are also a number of combination businesses, such as the hairdresser that does haircuts, spray tans and children’s princess birthday parties. Others are more interesting:
. . . and some that could be dangerous if you went in the wrong door:
I found an old-fashioned lunch bar with some interesting offerings:
I took my brother to dinner at The Rocks. They only had one waiter on so the service was a bit . . . slow. The prices were high but the portions were big and they had some interesting names. Our waiter announced our bread and dips with ‘Here’s The Goodness!’. For a main I had a Fatty and Skinny (venison) and my brother had a Tim (beef).
Invercargill – a city for all seasons.