Thursday, 1 May 2014

Dunedin, Easter 2014

We set off very early on Good Friday morning in the dark. A storm was raging outside and, after checking in our luggage, the flight was delayed by 4 hours. Security's pretty slack over here and you don't have to go through it at all on some domestic flights which was good from our point of view as we could go home for a little more sleep before the next flight.

So we got to Dunedin for lunch rather than breakfast and enjoyed a really terrific fish & chips in the Best Café which has been around for 80 years and probably hasn't been re-decorated since it first opened. We really liked Dunedin despite the wind and the rain, we both felt quite at home there, it seeming more British (specifically Scottish I should say) than Kiwi. Lots of solid old Victorian buildings built on a hilly site, in grey stone. It has some good restaurants and we found a great little pub one night serving hand-pulled beer in real pint glasses so Mike was happy.

The rain didn't let up at all that day so we visited the Settlers Museum, booked a train trip up the Taeri Gorge for Saturday and checked into our little unit at Hogwartz Backpackers, which is in the old Bishop's Palace and proved a good central, warm, place to stay. We had a good double room with kitchen and shower all to ourselves, and parking space.

The Railway Station was rather lovely, shining tiles and a great train mosaic on the floor

Some of the carriages were the original wooden ones so you could stand out on the viewing platforms and look down onto the river gorge
The weather deteriorated a little and by the afternoon it was misty and damp but after a 5 hours train journey up and down the gorge we needed to walk so went down to the Tunnel Walkway. Quite a spectacular setting with beautifully eroded high sandstone cliffs, but as it was high tide there wasn't a lot of beach left.

Sunday morning was fabulous with clear blue skies and no wind at all. We packed up and drove over to the Otago Peninsula which is separated from Dunedin by a narrow harbour. The surface of the water was flat calm and looking up the other way we could see right to the harbour mouth

We drove straight to Sandfly Bay on the east coast. It was a steep climb down through the dunes but we had the beach to ourselves, except for the sleeping sea lions and seal colony at the far end, along with the oyster catchers and the stilts. We wandered for an hour or so, enjoying the fabulous morning

That afternoon we went to the Albatross Colony on the northernmost tip of the peninsula. The photos don't do it justice of course. As we walked up towards the hide to see the chicks, these enormous 3m wing span birds soared above us, circling the hill on their way to feed their young. It was very impressive. A fantastic day

We'd booked a night in Larnach Castle (the stables of to be more precise). Dinner was in the Music Room of the castle along with the other guests and it was a great end to the w/e. The castle itself is small but well restored and we could wander freely around it and the beautiful grounds
Our final morning and the weather had turned cold and blowy again. We wrapped up warm and did and final walk around the headland at the northern end of Sandfly Bay

No comments:

Post a Comment