Bluff Harbour

A couple more photos from Stirling Point and then I move on to Bluff Harbour and its entrance. I wanted to give you an idea of the overall setting of the Bluff Township before showing you some of the interesting buildings in the town (including some attractive art deco examples). There’s a regular ferry service from Bluff to Rakiura (Stewart Island) crossing Foveaux Strait. It takes about an hour and its a great experience. You never know what wildlife you might see and if conditions are rough you can be in for a really wild ride. Fine or wild I love the journey as I’ve never had issues with sea-sickness.

All photos taken by Liz on Tuesday 14 August 2018


Stirling Point

Looking out to sea, you can see channel markers for the South Channel leading into Bluff Harbour (just left of centre)

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View down on the shore directly below the Chain sculpture. Distant islands out at sea. The island on the far left has a lighthouse – barely visible in this shot.

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Bluff Harbour and Entrance

Following views are from the Bluff Hill lookout. Stirling Point is out of sight below us. We’re looking across at Tiwai Peninsula and you can see the harbour entrance below

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Harbour entrance and Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. According to their website the smelter contributes 10.5 per cent of Southland’s GDP. Approximately 800 full-time equivalent employees and contractors work at the smelter. The majority of the alumina comes from Queensland in Australia.

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Bluff Harbour, Tiwai Wharf and Tiwai Point aluminium smelter

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Bluff Harbour and South Port; Bluff township

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Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)

38 thoughts on “Bluff Harbour

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  1. Liz, that’s interesting. I’ve been told that aluminium production is very energy intensive and can’t be done with renewables. Just out of curiosity, what sort of power does the smelter in Bluff use? Coal-fired power station, hydro?

    Some of my family live in the Gladstone area where they produce the alumina.

    Kind regards. Tracy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, very energy intensive. The largest hydroelectric power station in NZ, Manapouri in Fiordland, was built to supply the smelter (approx 160km to smelter). I was going to give you a link but there’s lots of info if you’d like to read more. Searching on: manapouri power station tiwai gets plenty of results.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. We moved down to the otago/southland regions about 12 years ago and this has become home for us. We never seem to be able to settle so we’ve lived in a number of different locations within otago/southland. These two regions are really, really nice and endlessly fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s been huge problems associated with the waste from the process called dross. A company was going to recover any aluminium from the dross and return it to the smelter, and the rest was to become something called ouvea premix which would eventually get processed into fertiliser. A lot of the premix was made but there were problems with a ‘bad egg’ manager, and then Tiwai didn’t renew the company’s contract. Now there’s heaps of premix stored at various sites and if it gets wet it releases ammonia. Nightmare. You’ll easily find info if you search. I quickly found this article which appears to be an ok oveview: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/features/102663052/Tiwai-2-Return-of-the-dreaded-dross

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pics, Liz. The harbour is beautiful, viewed from the lookout on Bluff Hill. When we visited Bluff in 2010 the town looked very unloved with it’s derelict houses and empty shops and streets. We were surprised and saddened how many of the small South Island towns were the same, decimated by 3 decades of corporate profiteering and the subsequent loss of industries that once employed the locals. With the threat to the aluminium smelter, life in Bluff must be a worry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Things are looking good at the moment as the smelter is restarting an unused potline that’s been mothballed since 2012 (32 more jobs). Most towns in the south are actually looking better, and travelling is good as there’s lots of nice cafes scattered around all over the place!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s so many variables in the regions, especially down here so far from Wellington. You always feel like you’re living on a knife edge down here! But I love Otago/Southland, its really a great place to live regardless πŸ™‚

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