Sunday 23 April 2017

The Unplanned Visit To Invercargill

It was raining throughout our journey from Queenstown to Invercargill but thankfully the rain stopped short of a couple of kilometers before reaching the city. Coming here was a last minute decision as we wanted to escape the rain in Queenstown and Otago Region. It was quite thrilling to be in Invercargill at last as it is the southernmost city of a country that is so far south on World Map.

Invercargill's Heritage Buildings
I have always imagined Invercargill to be a very rural place with few facilities as it is so secluded and so far south but I was surprised to see its established infrastructure. This city was founded in the 1850s and have inherited many grand European buildings with superb architecture. We drove around to see some of these heritage monuments, visited a couple of parks, the museum and its beach.
Seen in the foreground is The Troopers’ Memorial which was erected to remember those who served in the South African Boer War. Behind it is the former Bank of New South Wales building built on the site where commercial activity began in Invercargill in 1856. 
The Railway Hotel, built in 1896 with elements of Victorian, Edwardian and Baroque architectural styles is said to bear some resemblance with the famous Railway Station Building in Dunedin.
Built in 1906, Civic Theatre is now a performing arts and events centre.
The Water Tower and Waterworks building are among some other heritage buildings we visited. 
 This Italian Romanesque style First Presbyterian Church was opened in 1915.
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Basilica, opened in 1905, was once described as “the prettiest church in Australasia". The impressive architecture of St Mary's Basilica makes a notable contribution to the cityscape of Invercargill.
Tay Street

Invercargill's Parks
Invercargill has a few lovely parks and gardens. We visited its Otepuni Gardens, a quiet lovely garden within its city hub.

The Otepuni Gardens stretches across both sides of Otepuni Stream and we had the gardens all to ourselves.

The grand St Mary’s Roman Catholic Basilica is just adjacent to Otepuni Gardens.
We also visited Invercargill's Queens Park which is the biggest and oldest park in the city.

Southland Museum and Art Gallery
Southland Museum And Art Gallery is Southland's largest cultural and heritage institution. It contains a wide variety of the region's art, history and natural history collections and entrance is free.

Southland Museum and Art Gallery is housed in a pyramid-shaped building which is entirely painted white.

Photography is not allowed in the museum and gallery. Shown here is the souvenir shop within the premise.

Oreti Beach
We also drove 10km out of the city to visit Oreti Beach. It was very cold and windy at the beach but the sand is very fine. 
From Invercargill we headed for the port town of Bluff, about 30km away.

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