Dunedin, New Zealand

Another week and another little side trip to some far flung area of New Zealand – Dunedin!

5pm on Friday, after a hectic week at work, I left (on time!) and got on an intercity bus to Dunedin, which only cost about $50 return. I don’t mind the intercity buses, they are warm and comfy, and it wasn’t packed, so I got to spread out and sleep. I’ve previously used naked bus company (interesting name for a bus company!) and they were much less comfortable and crowded. However, that could just have been the particular route I was on! So maybe it is worth another shot.

The bus took 5.5 hours, and we stopped in Timaru, where I have been before. We stopped for 45 mins, in a little roadside cafe by the bus station. Probably not that necessary, but I guess for the driver it was.

I got to Dunedin after 11pm, and it was freezing. It is much colder in the south. I met another online friend, after 7 years (from a scoliosis based website), which was pretty cool.

On saturday I explored. I jumped on a bus with a company called headfirst travel, and headed to Larnach castle, which is New Zealand’s only castle. Although apart from having a wee little tower, it really only appears to be like a stately home.

The tour company was amazing. The guide Dick, gave us a great mini tour of Dunedin city, and some history of it. Dunedin is known as Edinburgh of the south, as when ‘the european’s’ came over, scottish people settled in Dunedin. So a lot of street names are the same as Edinburgh. So they have a George Street and a Princess Street.

I think after seeing the castle. I’ve realised how much I miss the older buildings and historican places, which the UK is so rich in.

The area around the castle (The Otago Penisula) is stunning!! I definately want to go back and drive down to the Catlins, towards the bottom of the south island.

The rest of the day, I spent exploring the city. I am not much of a city girl, but Dunedin has good shops and some fairly nice buildings.

I went to my friends 21st birthday (gosh, I feel old!) but it was good fun. What I am finding here with parties are that they are closely based on American style parties, with photo slide shows and speeches! I am sure I’ve never went that far out for parties. 

On Sunday, I went out and saw the chinese gardens, which I was told was a great place to go. NOT worth the $9 I paid to get in. Quite small, and it was basically a wee little loop walk around some water with some chinese looking buildings and plants. Not impressed!

The more exciting thing about Sunday was getting to climb (and it was a climb!) Baldwin Street, which is the world’s steepest street! Though San Fran in the US would debate this. However, it is in the Guiness book of world records.

The street is pretty immense. We pulled up across the road, I took one look at it and went “you’re kidding me right?!” But, I did it! I did have to stop a few times. At the top I got a good few pictures and even lay down at the top with my head facing down .. now that was a scary feeling. I also discovered that there is a B&B in the middle of it, which looks as though it has some amazing views. I wonder if they have to put a disclaimer or inform people of the hike they must do to get to it!

I left Dunedin at 5pm, but this time with a friend from Christchurch, who was driving. We got back an hour and a half earlier than the bus, despite only leaving 15 mins prior to the bus. What I have discovered is that there is a website called transfer car, where you can get a car for free to a location! Basically, when people hire a car at one location (ie. Christchurch) and drop it off at another location (ie. Dunedin). They don’t want to pay a fee to get it back to the original location. So you gt the car for free. All you pay is fuel! I must look into this a lot more.

It is now into May. May 1st in fact, and it is freezing. I am currently lying on the sofa, with my big woolly cardigan, a hat and gloves, with the heat pump on! There is a way to get the house warm all over, but I’ve not figured it out, so shall await the return of my flatmate.

May is my month of rest i’ve decided. I have a course in Wellington in two weeks time, but apart from that, nothing!

Looking forward to June 16th – Ireland Vs All blacks – epic!

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