Welcome back, it seems that I'm stuck in doors alot due to this Corona Virus. :-S
As a result I'm spending more time on blogging and might actually get more than 1 post published in a month!
Now before I tell you about this place, I need to mention that this is the first place I visited in the south island flying from Wellington; which by the way was a great place too.
You can check that post out here.
I actually had no intention of visiting Dunedin. In fact, like many places during my travels, I didn't know it existed.
My main goal was to get to Queenstown in time for Christmas which was less than a week away. But the flights were a ridiculous price. It cost more to fly from Wellington to Queenstown then it did to fly from Cairns - Australia to Auckland! And that flight wasn't cheap either.
So after having a look on the map, the only town nearby (I say nearby, it's on the other side of the Island lol) to Queenstown is Dunedin. A small coastal town situated on the east side of the south Island. I had no idea what was there. But the flight was cheap and the air bnb looked good so off we went.
I stayed in two air bnb's, one of which had an awasome view.
Both hosts were nice but the lady that lived closer to town had unbelievable hospitality. Remember John? The guy who took me on the craziest roadtrip in just 1 day! She rivals him.
When I arrived, the host wasn't in so she kindly left us the keys to her house whilst she was at work. Imagine that, leaving your house completely open to strangers you've never seen or met, talk about trust! I'll be talking alot about the host alot in this blog, she was awasome!
As I walked down the hill towards town, the artwork on some of the buildings reminded me of Melbourne back in Australia. It wasn't quite as frequent, but pretty impressive none the less.
Walking down the main highstreet the buildings looked alot different to everywhere I'd been so far on my journey. Since I left home, most of the buildings I'd come across up until now were modern designs. But here they were old and felt more like...home.
My attention then turned to the name of this place "Dunedin", pronounced "Dun-eeden" (I think). It seemed Scottish? This was later confirmed by our host. It's a place of 'scottish' and 'Maori' heritage with Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Quite a mix I would say.
The main architectural attraction was the train station, you'll see why in just a sec, but first...
Dunedin beach was a ways away. It would take a good 40 minutes to an hour to walk but fortunately for us, we had the best host ever and she offered to drop us on the way to work. She really wanted to show us her town so I couldn't say no.
After watching a surf lesson for a while and admiring the beach, I saw something incredible. Nobody else in the area reacted so I guess they didn't see it.
It was a dolphin, big deal I know. But it's what the dolphin was doing which made it so epic.
It was surfing!
All the way along the wave, from left to right along shore.
The water was so clear I could see it barrel roll whilst riding the long wave. It must of rolled over 3 times then disappeared into the blue before the wave crashed. I've not even seen that in blue planet or any other aquatic documentry. I knew dolphins surfed toward shore but to surf along a wave means you gotta be a pro!
That definately made the trip worth it. Even if it was a long walk back (it really was)
Later that day, our freindly neighbourhood host asked us if we'd seen the train station? Bit of an odd question to ask but apparently the architecture is quite impressive..
If I squinted slightly, it almost looked like the entire thing was made of lego.
Ok so it was more of a drive by then a "visit" but luckily I've got google for back-up to give you a better view of the architecture.
I did visit the train station properly the next day, however for some reason didn't take any pictures.
The Otago Museum
One of the days it rained and rained...and rained. Luckily there was a museum which was free to enter so why not check it out. There are two museums here. This one and a more popular, more modern not far. But this one turned out (and I'm not kidding) to be better than the Auckland and Wellington Museums. Very quiet and not as fancy but more than made up for it with the shear volume of displays.
In the lobby there was a giant Sun-Fish on the wall which immediately caught my attention. What's a Sun Fish I hear here you ask? Well...
Or how about this?
One thing I didn't mention earlier is Duniden is a good place to see seals, penguins and Albertross. I really wanted to see them but apparently it wasn't windy enough for them to fly; so even if I got to the location (which was pretty far) I probably wouldn't see anything.
But it turns out I got closer than I thought...
For some reason there was croc on the floor...
There are so many displays in this place that are photo worthy but I'm not a tupical tourist who takes pictures of absolutely everything! Anyway, it was well worth the visit.
The "steepest street in the world"
Once I'd had a look around the museum, it had finally stopped raining. And guess who I saw on the way back. Our air BNB host on her way back from work!
"Would you like to see the steepest street in the world"?
"Er sure" I said, not knowing where on earth it could be.
5 minutes down the road and...
As you walk up the incline gets steeper...
Just look at the angle those houses are built at.
At the top there's a bench you can rest on and admire the view before heading back down. They've thought of everthing.
Now is this trully the steepest street in the world? Well I guess it must be; however I've been up far steeper inclines with houses on either end. Notice the sign says steepest street not road, I guess there's a difference; although I'm not exactly sure what it is.
This marked the final evening in this town.
But before I move on, I have to pay tribute to Marilyn, the air bnb host. She went above and beyond with everything. Breakfast included was always something new, not just musli. She even made a full english to make me feel at home :-).
Another day she walked around a freinds and left the keys for the garage and car!
"If you want to drive anywhere, can you just replace the petrol before heading back"
Think that's amazing? How about this...
Marilyn was away to see her family over Christmas. She knew we were struggling to find a place to stay in Queenstown and said if we couldn't find anywhere..."you're welcome to stay and look after my house over christmas"
What! That's insane surely! Leaving your house completely in the hands of strangers over Christmas! This was a huge moral boost as sometimes just fing somewhere to stay when your #backpacking can be a real nightmare!
It just goes to show that despite what the media tells you, there are nice people out there. People who will welcome in their home without first knowing who you are, who give you access to their food, their transport and their property.
I'm lucky enough to of met some of these and am extremely grateful to of been looked after so well.
I didn't know it yet, but from here on out, I'd be seeing alot more of the 'real' Newzealand!
Till next time...
Thanks for reading.