Dunedin Travel Blog› entry 77 of 206 › view all entries
We were up early as usual to catch the 7.30am ferry back to Invercargill. This was rough again and cold too but we all made it without any sickness, though a few people up-chucked back at the ferry terminal... We stopped off for coffee, but Barry, Lukas and I decided to head to Macdonalds for breakfast. I would never eat MacDonalds at home, but there are times and places and this was one of those times. MacDonalds in NZ and Oz are far more innovative than at home, and they have introduced many more products. I think at home they have started doing the healthy breakfast options with yoghurts and fruit toasts, but they also have Mega McMuffins with sausage and bacon, BLT bagels, you can add bacon and avocado to any burger, plus they have an after 5pm menu which incorporates several combinations in a KFC family bucket kind-of-way.
We headed up the coast, stopping off for some wildlife photo opportunities. First up was Waipapa which has the first and oldest lighthouse in New Zealand I think. It has a treacherous reef and is the site of the worst ship fatality in the 19th century following which lighthouses were installed on all coastlines and boats were fitted with enough life jackets for everyone. Down at the beach we had been told to look for sea lions, although by law we were not to be told exactly where, but it wasn't hard to spot the giant male sealion and his 2 females frollicking on the sand. We got quite close, but it was pretty frightening being so near such huge creatures. I was glad the male decided to lollop off to the water for a swim, giving us an opportunity to get closer to the 2 gamboling females.
We then stopped off at one of the best examples of a petrified forest in the southern hemisphere. This occurs when volcanic ash sweeps through a forest knocking it all to the ground and preserving it. After that we then stopped off at Porpoise Bay and were privileged to see some Hectors dolphins frollicking in the surf. Hectors dolphins are endangered and quite rare so it was lovely to see them arcing through the waves. And from there we headed to some waterfalls but I was sleepy so I stayed on the bus and gave the boys my camera. They came back telling me how beautiful it was, that it rivalled Niagara Falls, that it was hot water and that they had swum and jumped in.
Finally we arrived in Dunedin and checked into the Leviathon, an old hotel with converted rooms for backpackers. We were booked on the Speights brewery tour at 6pm so we headed straight out. The brewery was founded by three English men and is one of only 2 gravity breweries still working. So all the raw materials are transported to the top and the beer in its many states travels down the 8 floors. Beer has been brewed since Egyptian times (6000BC) and the term to 'go to the bouzah' is centuries old and explains why we still say the same thing. The Norwegian term for 'cheers' is 'Skule' because they would hollow out the murdered skulls of their enemies and drink from them! James Cook was the first person in New Zealand to brew beer to stave off scurvy.
At the end of the tour we were given the opportunity to try 6 of Speights's beers; the Pale, the Porter (a dark ale developed for the English palette and so called because Speights sent home malt that had been too long fermented to the English porters and they liked it so much they released it, now knowing it was actually a quality product!), the 5 star, the Apricot wheat beer, the dark ale (tastes like coffee and chocolate) and the old favourite Gold Medal. We could all pull our own drinks so we just walked in circles round the pumps trying them all again and again. I drank quite a lot of the apricot and the pale ale before finally after an hour the tour guide closed up. I would have been happy to carry on drinking but everyone wanted to change and eat so we reconvened in the common room a couple of hours later. We had bought some beers from the bottle shop so stayed 'warm' with these, and then headed out to The Octogan, the main city centre with lots of bars in a circle. We started first in the Terrace, then to somewhere across the street, and then ended up in Bar 10 dancing the night away till late. We came home past the most amazing gourmet burger bar where I was good and absteined only for being so baffled by the menu I couldn't decide what I wanted and gave up trying!