Formed by the elements Vs. made by man
Dunedin Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
Another day starts and once again we donâ€™t manage sleeping until our alarm clock sounds. At 6.45 my dad snores us out of a quiet sleep for the fourth time and we figure we might as well get up now. Since we were so late in the hotel yesterday we didnâ€™t unpack much of our stuff, so there isnâ€™t much to pack either. The restaurant is not in the same wing of the hotel as our room, but it is decorated very much like it. Lots of browns and warm reds, it all gives me the feeling of being in a well heated log cabin in the mountains with snow piling up high outside. As I said; itâ€™s just a feeling, because the sky outside is blue as ever and the temperature isnâ€™t bad either.
Obviously theyâ€™re not used to early birds here, when we enter the breakfast area the staff are still preparing.
When we have put our belongings in the car, we drive to the town centre again. We saw a supermarket there yesterday and want to take in some supplies for on the way. Our destination today is Dunedin, but there are several things to see en route. Up until Benmore Dam we are eating the kilometers away, from then on we are playing tourist again. We get off SH83 and take the slow, but beautiful road that winds along the northern shoreline of Lake Aviemore. The first dam we encounter is Benmore Dam, which is part of a power plant.
A little further down the road, the people of a village we are passing through have been showing off their creativity by building a complete family out of hay bales.
With Duntroon behind us we pull over near the Maori paintings that this region is renowned for. These too are behind fences and to be honest, I expected something more than the vague sketches I am looking at right now. With the help of the signs that tell us what to see, we can make out a boat, dolphin like creatures and some people. I guess I got my hopes up a bit too muchâ€¦
The Elephant Rocks are our next break, a strange scene in a hilly landscape: in a sheep paddock huge limestone boulders that have been shaped by wind and water lie around, looking like bulky deformed monsters or, if you open your mindâ€™s eye, elephants.
When we have finished our stroll between the stone elephants we start our drive over the winding road towards Oamaru. Itâ€™s quite a long drive and as time goes by the sun, that is shining in my eyes makes me more and more drowsy. We drive straight to the centre of the village, where we park our car at an expense of 60 dollar cents per hour. In the spur of the moment I let it all hang out and chuck in a whole dollar.
Knowing that the medicine will kick in within the next twenty minutes we walk to the Harbour and Tyne Historic Precinct, which is known for its commercial buildings from the 19th century, built in a colourful array of styles, from Gothic revival to Venetian Palazzo.
We get back to the car just before my parking-dollar runs out, and itâ€™s a good thing we do, because only metres away an officer is fining people that didnâ€™t make it back in time. Just outside the town there is supposed to be a penguin colony and it looks good from a distance, birdlike creatures galore on the rocky shoreline, but when we have parked the car and take a better look there isnâ€™t a penguin to be sighted. The â€śpenguinsâ€ť we saw are all cormorants that look like penguins when they sit in a certain way.
The moment we get to the parking of the Moeraki Boulders we can tell that this, too is a place where every passing tourist pulls over. It is about a ten minute beach walk to the actual site of the boulders and I decide to take off my shoes, the spots I want to take pictures from will get me wet feet anyhow, so I might as well do it now. It is almost impossible to take any pictures without a flock of tourists on them, but some of the more remote boulders are deserted. Nobody really knows how the boulders got here, of course it is a phenomenon of natural wear, but it looks like some giant child dropped its marbles and walked away.
After cleaning and drying my feet we start the final stretch to Dunedin. Even though the clock is ticking towards five in the afternoon, traffic is quiet and we get to the city pretty fast. We refuel the car for 61 dollars (1,039 dollar/litre) and follow the instructions of the service station attendant to get to the hotel. After a 268 kilometre drive today, the car finally gets a rest on the parking of the Mercure Leisure Lodge. Our room isnâ€™t big, but it suffices.
We walk towards the city centre to find a restaurant called Bisztro, Lonely Planetâ€™s choice. We find the address, but the place has a new owner, a new name (Rainforest) and a new type of food (Malay).
To get our digestion going we walk to the Octagon, an eight sided roundabout-ish square with its old buildings, i.e. St. Paulâ€™s Anglican Cathedral and the Town Hall and Municipal Chambers. We conclude our walk with a visit to Dunedinâ€™s Railway Station, built in 1906 and probably the prettiest stone building in the whole of New Zealand. The designer of the structure, George Troup, was knighted for it. The building is completely erected in Flemish renaissance style and has a glorious departure hall with a nine panel mosaic floor, depicting a small English Puffing Billy (classical steam engine).
Itâ€™s getting chilly and we walk back to the hotel, walking past the Speightâ€™s brewery and the Cadburyâ€™s chocolate factory. My cell phone rings as soon as we are in our room, my mum, after several attempts she finally got through. Sheâ€™s very happy now, but all the futile efforts before drove her frustrations almost through the roof.