Chess in the South Sea

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Stewart Island is the third largest island in the New Zealand archipelago and located on the south end of the island chain. It is an amazing far-flung locale that can be accessed by crossing the Foveaux Strait on a one hour ferryboat ride from the town of Bluff on the South Island. Once on the island life seems to slow down. The small town of Oban is the only town on the entire Island and while it has roads there are very few cars. The roads don’t run much further than the edge of town so there really is no need for a vehicle. The local birds reign supreme here and they are why most people visit this scenic spec of land on the far south side of the world. The bird sanctuary that is Ulva Island lies in one of Stewart Island’s bays and many tourists stay in Oban in order to do day excursions on Ulva.

My wife and I stayed at the South Sea Hotel (in the photo), which is the only official hotel on the island. It has decent rooms with communal bathrooms and a very good restaurant. The seafood chowder is extremely good and if you ever find your way to this side of the world I can’t recommend the chowder enough. This is one of those places that I could imagine spending weeks relaxing on the beach and playing giant chess as the sun sets.

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