Friday, February 21, 2014

The Brighton of New Zealand

Pierre looks out to Stewart Island, which cannot be photographed

Ignoring the fact New Zealand features several places actually named 'Brighton' (British colonialists are not famous for their creativity), I'm going to go right ahead and bestow the honour of being Brighton-like on the small, extremely-southern town of Riverton.  

I drove to Riverton on this balmy day, from Invercargill, with my brother, his girlfriend and my friend G, and her boyfriend. So, two couples plus me.

G told me, with her trademark optimism, that Riverton was pretty much exactly like Brighton, mostly due to the colourful changing booths on the beach. 

I haven't actually been to Brighton, but I know enough liberal, creative types to know that it's the kind of place I would enjoy. However, I also knew that G liked to over-play the positive in any situation, and that she had been suspiciously positive about everything in and around Invercargill; not a town famous for it's charms. 

A Church Flirts

Double date + 1 (behind the lens)

To my pleasant surprise, G wasn't wrong. Riverton is charming, and plenty of people with excess money and real estate sense have been buying up large. There seems to be an average of one yoga and massage studio per 5 people and the cafe serves fair trade coffee and nostalgic, 'rustic' treats like cheese rolls. In this respect, it reminds me of Motueka.

Except with an aesthetically-pleasing scattering of bleakness, 
rescuing it from bobo overload.

After a wonderful day being blasted by the wind and (rarer, in these parts) sun, we headed back to Invercargill, where we purchased fish and chips from the place opposite North Hall.

Once, while our friend Anh was driving past, G had said: "I love that building!" (referring to North Hall), and Anh exclaimed: "No wonder you and Lei are friends, she 
always really loves ugly buildings too!"

It is basically the very foundation of our decade-long friendship. Look:

Anyway. Then we took our fish and chips and headed to the fair, where I confirmed and G discovered a fear of heights on the ferris wheel.  

The Royal Family

So there you have it, evidence you can too have an absolutely wonderful day in Invercargill, markedly so if you drive the extra 30-odd kilometres to Riverton.

Double points if you're lucky enough to be visiting this local idiot: