Robin must be a bit of a bikie at heart, and he happily spent New Year’s morning looking through Bill Richardson’s other venture in Invercargill, the Classic Motorcycle Mecca. Officially opened by famous bike rider Guy Martin during the 2016 Burt Munro Challenge, and displaying over 300 classic motorcycles, Classic Motorcycle Mecca is a fabulous extension of Transport World.
Some of the bikes on display
Bikes on show include AJS, Ariel, BMW, Brough Superior, Harley-Davidson, and Henderson. Little known brands such as Schwinn and Zundapp are also included, in fact over 60 manufacturers are represented. Also shown are three of the four John Britten motorcycles publically displayed.
John Britten’s first & record braking models
Robin had one of these – Triumph Tigress 250 twin scooter (He would like another)
After lunch we took a drive out to Bluff, and we didn’t remember this sign the last time we were here. It’s certainly made nice and strong, as while we were waiting for a photo, there were a group of kids climbing all over it.
A trip to Stirling Point was the first port of call, and we were astounded to find the car park chock full of cars and tourists, all wanting to have their photos taken in front of the famous sign post. And did you know that this is the point where SH1 begins – or ends, depending if you are coming or going!
We made it to Bluff
And to get a birds eye view of the town, we drove up the very steep Bluff Hill – which just happens to be an extinct volcanic cone, forcing it’s way to the surface more than 235 million years ago.. The lookout is made from local granite, and we followed the circular path round and round up a gentle slope till we reached the top.
Lookout at Bluff Hill
The views from the top were certainly amazing, and the surrounding landscape is very flat indeed. James Spencer is credited as Bluff’s first European settler. In 1824 he purchased land from Tuhawaiki, built a house and established a fishing station. Bluff has the longest history of any New Zealand town. By 1850 most of Southland had been settled by run holders. As New Zealand’s closest port to Australia, Bluff became the centre to service the region’s farming and saw milling industries.
Views over Tiwai Point and Bluff
Back down on the coast road we found a new sculpture since our last visit. Built in 2013, it pays homage to the Bluff oyster. Harvested since the 1860s, the oyster has long been a Bluff icon, providing industry and employment for the area. Sadly we won’t be around for the next Bluff Oyster Festival which takes part next year at the end of May – there is nothing nicer than deep fried battered oysters and chips!
Bluff, home of the Oyster
Before we left the area we drove along the Tiwai Peninsula, to see if we could get a closer look at the smelter. New Zealand's Aluminum Smelter (NZAS) is the only one in New Zealand and is located on Tiwai Peninsula, across the harbour from Bluff in Southland. The smelter commenced operations in 1971 and employees approximately 800 staff and contractors.
Tiwai Aluminum Plant
After all that sight-seeing it was time to top up the 4WD with fuel so we can continue on our journey tomorrow.