The Legend of Burt Munro Have you seen the movie “The Worlds Fastest Indian”? It’s the true story of an elderly Kiwi who breaks the world speed record for motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah at the ripe old age of 69. The Kiwi, played by Anthony Hopkins, is named Burt Munro and he’s from Invercargill, a town at the very bottom of the South Island, and that’s where we right now.
To say Invercargill is isolated is a bit of an understatement. In New Zealand, one of the most geographically isolated places in the world, North Islanders think of South Islanders as a little backward and behind the times. On the South Island, the citizens of Christchurch look down their noses at people in Dunedin, Dunedin in turn has Invercargill to poke fun at. Do you see where I’m going here? Invercargill is the end of the line.
Invercargill is Invercrappy So what’s at the end of the line, and why are we here?
Let’s answer the last question first. We’ve bussed down here from Christchurch and we’ll start cycling back there in the morning (If you look at the prevailing winds it makes sense. If you have felt these winds, as we have, it will make perfect sense), We’ve given up on trying to do a circuit of the South Island (Read LeeAnne’s post for details), in favor of cycling it’s length instead. From Christchurch we’ll rent a car and be car-camping the rest of our time in New Zealand.
So, back to what is in Invercargill. The short answer is: very little.
Actually, I take that back, there is a very nice museum with some of the best, and most well explained, Maori artifacts we’ve seen yet. It also has a very interesting exhibit on shipwrecks and castaways in the Southern Ocean for any of you waiting for “Lost” to start up again.
Other than that it has alot of stores that aren’t open, Bogens (What we would call Grits or Heads) and not much else.
So there isn’t a lot for Invercarglians to toot their horn about. Or there wasn’t until this movie came out (And it’s really a good movie, I’d see it again). Now those folks up in Dunedin may still have a laugh at Invercargill’s expense, but who’s got the movie under their belt? That’s right. Invercrappy, I mean Invercargill.