Christmas Day did not start out with nice weather on Stewart Island. It was overcast, and there was a light rain in the morning. Having been here for a few days now, I suspected that it would clear up by late morning as it usually did. The 24th of December was an exception as it was already wonderfully sunny early in the morning. And indeed, the rain stopped around 10 a.m. and I set out to walk the Horseshoe Point Trail.
The first part, getting to Horseshoe Bay, was completely along the road. I passed the tree telephone again on the last hill before Horseshoe Bay and wondered for how long it’s been active and whether it was just for emergencies or could be used at all times. If the latter were the case, I was imagining people waiting in line in front of the tree to use the phone. Conveniently, there is a bench located right below the telephone so that you could have a longer conversation.
The trail itself was pretty nice and meandered along the coast with lots of glimpses of the bays. Horseshoe Point was the highest point on the trail as far as I could tell and offered great views of Horseshoe Bay and beyond. I met a couple at the top with whom I had chatted at the wharf looking out for Little Blue Penguins the previous night and learned a bit about Japanese customs and holidays as they had been living there already for over a decade.
Continuing on the trail, it descends down to Dead Man Beach, which is a fabulous little beautiful beach in the wider Halfmoon Bay. The little brochure from the Department of Conservation didn’t say why the beach was called “Dead Man Beach” and so I could make wild guesses on the way there. They all became irrelevant when seeing the beach as all that counts was just how nice it was. But then, most of the bays around Stewart Island are. Its wide white sandy beach with rocks on either side and lazy kelp made for a nice photo opp and getting the toes wet before taking the steep stairs back up the cliffs to continue on the trail. Compared to previous trails, it was a pretty busy one with several walkers coming by.
At the end of the trail at Bragg Bay, I took a little detour to also go to the Moturau Moana native garden. It’s a well-kept botanical garden with species native to Stewart Island and the South Island. From there on, it was back onto the road into town for a quite afternoon.
If you want to read more about my vacation on Stewart Island, check out the following posts:
- Heading to the anchor of New Zealand
- Talkative forest
- From bay to bay
- 81 mouse traps to Māori Beach
- Albatrosses aplenty
- Of bays and forest around Oban
- Catch of the day: Blue Cod
- A word on sandflies
- A Local’s Tail and take-off
- Stewart Island / Rakiura in photos and videos
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