M&D in Oamaru
We said goodbye to CC and Kiwi and after some careful rearranging of luggage we eventually managed to cram it all in the tiny car. We were bound for Dunedin but had a few points of interest to see along the way. The main roads made us laugh as they are all single lanes and are not much bigger than most of our 'B' roads! The towns on the map that we expected to be the size of Colchester or Darlington were actually populated with about 300 people. We saw some nice places along the way, Ashburton for breakfast and then a big sea side resort where we strolled along the nice beach and had a look at the town. We stopped at an historic town, well historic for NZ! It was really nice with fancy buildings and lots of locally produced goods. I bought Nan some homemade Christmas pudding flavoured fudge. We got to Oamaru about lunch time and saw the weird boulder phenomena. We took a lot of silly pictures and then went in the search of a restaurant called Fleur's Place, recommended to us by Kiwi. We were a bit late for lunch time but they kept the restaurant open for us. From the outside it looked very rustic and Mum and I were unsure if Dad would even eat here. Inside it was a lot nicer and it was a great recommendations. The food was delicious and you got extremely generous portions. We bought a recipe book for Mum and Fleur kindly signed it. It was the nicest seafood I have had in a long time, even with a visit to Chile! We got to Dunedin in the late afternoon and were all tired from a busy day and the long drive. Our rooms in Dunedin were really nice, almost like a small apartment, Mum made us all beans on toast (spaghetti for Dad) which was a great treat, almost as delicious as Fleur's!
The weather was pretty miserable for our few days here, it felt as though we were actually in Scotland. M&D immediately found a great café that served amazing breakfasts and of course the all-important coffee. After we were full on coffee and had bought some sandwiches for lunch we went to Banks peninsula in the hope of spotting some wildlife. We took a trip on the back of an extremely bumpy 4x4 style golf cart. We borrowed some attractive ponchos to protect us from the relentless rain and to camouflage us so we didn't disturb the wildlife too much. We saw the lazy seals, sea lions and their adorable pups. We were able to get inches away from them from behind a hidden shelter so they were quite at ease, not really aware that we were there taking lots of pictures and 'oooing' at how cute they were! We were also lucky enough to see a pair of blue penguins cheekily nesting in the viewing hut and then the elusive yellow eyed penguins. We had a great trip and had seen so much but were all a bit disappointed to not have seen any albatross. As luck would have it as we were leaving the car park a huge albatross flew past! We had our sandwiches at a small bay, Dad had corned beef (how jealous is Chris right now?) and took in some of the views.
Our second day in Dunners we took the scenic train ride with our overenthusiastic conductor/guide. He gave us lots of information along the way and I am not sure if the main aim of the tour was to be comedic but it was to us! His favourite line was 'this used to be a glorious…' and then ended with a more depressing 'but now it is owned by the Chinese!' We stopped off at a few places along the way 'Arthurs Knob' was a favourite for obvious reasons. The views were pretty magnificent but our favourite thing about the views were the gorgeous yellow flowers that aren't a native flower so the government are trying to get rid of them!
We took some pictures of the most photographed place in NZ (apparently) the train station, which was a grand building with Victorian style architecture. The other must see sight in Dunners is the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street. We got there with a lot of other tourists and hiked our way to the top. From the top it looks even steeper than we had first thought. James and I did a silly thing and ran part of the way down, it was so hard to stop yourself you had to turn and run back up the hill! We did some shopping in Dunedin town with a lot of bargains at a knock down sports store.