1. Invercargill houses NZ’s only indoor cycling track. We booked an hour at the Velodrome where our cycling coach (who coinkidinkally was the mother of one of the girls we got to know on the Routeburn track!) showed us the ropes and taught us how to cycle confidently around the steep angled track with brakeless bikes.
Riding the fixed-pedal bikes was a bit of a learning curve as your feet need to be moving constantly.
(I got so good that I could multi-task. Ride AND stick out my tongue without falling flat on my face!)
To stop, you need to cruise around the centre (flat part) of the track ‘till you’re going slow enough to grab the rail in order to come to a complete stop.
We both LOVED the experience and only wished we had scheduled more time in Invercargill so we could do it again and again!
2. Invercargill was the home of “The World’s Fastest Indian” driver Burt Munroe, as well as the location of part of the movie (Oreti Beach). We visited the replica of the bike (which was used in the film)…
We also visited Oreti beach where Burt set a couple of his world records and first races his bike in the movie.
Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce to you ‘The World’s Fastest Canadians”:
3. Invercargill is home to the world’s oldest Tuatara, Henry. He is 121 years old and apparently kind of grumpy. Tuatara’s are NZ’s unique lizard-like reptiles.
Old Henry wouldn’t show his face…
But we did get a look at some other little guys.
4. Tim Shadbolt, the Mayor of Invercargill, is originally from West Auckland (where we lived!) and he’s done amazing things in Invercargill. Lance & Nat suggested that we meet him as he is such a jolly fellow and perfectly willing to meet and chat with random folks. We contacted him to set up an appointment, but sadly he was out of town when we were in Invercargill. He offered a meeting time, but unfortunately we were many many miles away by then.
Next time, Mr. Mayor… next time.
And that, my friends, is why Invercargill isn’t so insignificant and unimpressive as one might hear/think/assume.