So I like roses. And trees. And water features. And ducklings. I really like seeing people outside with their families and hearing their children giggle and seeing them enjoy fresh air and down time.
This combination of things that I really like culminated in a great wave of wonderful on a hot day in early January when I stumbled across Queens park in New Zealand’s Southern-most city.
Invercargill, or Invergiggle as it is sometimes known, has a population of just over 50,000 residents. There must be 50,000 residents to be considered a city, so this gorgeous wee settlement just sneaks in over the wire.
I have also always had a soft spot for the underdog. Invercargill is the brunt of more than a few jokes here in NZ, and as I talked and posted about the fabulous time I was having there, many people seemed confounded or disagreed.
We had the opportunity to see dozens of towns and cities from the top to the bottom of New Zealand, but Invercargill stands out as a truly sweet and lovely place and I am excited to go back again the same time next year.
We stayed at the Victoria Station Hotel. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city and oozes with character. Our hosts were gracious, funny, kind, and above all exceptionally interesting. They told us the story of the building and its many previous owners and incarnations. Unfortunately they did not have a cool ghost story for me regarding the hotel. Ah well. Can’t have it all I suppose.
We met with representatives from the Invercargill Vegan Society who were fresh faced, healthy and enthusiastic about our electric cars. We had a strong common bond in our concern for sustainability (social and environmental). They are better at walking the talk than I am, but that is kind of a common theme with almost everyone I met. I talk a lot more than I walk apparently. Sigh.
Where was I?
How I fell deeply and eternally in Love with this quaint and beautiful little city.
While Grumpy was parked up showing the cars to people, Ginell and I took the time to go exploring the park. We opted to stay there and enjoy some time with James in the park while the team went down to Bluff to do their scheduled photo-shoot.
Queens Park is veiled in a bit of magic. It is quite perfectly planned, marvelously manicured, inarguably interesting, and most importantly pleasantly populated by polite people.
I proper loved it!
I also found out that the reason that the Invercargill has such amazing facilities and infrastructure is partly owing to some very old legislation that does not allow profit through the sale of alcohol, rather, all of the revenue generated from the sale of booze must be returned to the community. Or something like that… At any rate, it is a hard working, hard playing kind of place and there is a tuition free polytech that attracts people young and old there to study, so suffice to say, a bit of revenue gets generated as people blow off steam after study or slogging it out at work.
Ginell and I took our friend Nick out for some drinks and contributed to this kitty. We had a great night, and laughed until our ribs and cheeks hurt. Only had 4 or so drinks each, so it was a responsible but fantastic evening.
If you have not been to Invercargill, put it on your bucket list. It is a lovely place filled with lovely people. If you end up there for work or just passing through (as we did) consider yourself lucky, and jump into this quaint and quirky little city with both feet.
Thanks for reading.