A Travellerspoint blog

Day 61: Thursday 2nd May 2013

Damp Dundin

rain 15 °C

We arrived in Dunedin in the early afternoon, just before lunch time. First impression where pleasant, and the weather had improved somewhat so was only spitting. Our first problem was a parking space.... The centre was small and spaces were clearly fought over. So we head to the nearby multi-storey. It was one in and one out but thankfully the que was small, so we waited for the 3 cars. The clearance was 2m, which in the van we thought was risky, but worth a try.

This risky strategy came undone 15mins later with a large que behind us. A we went to drive in an enormous alarm went off, making all the pedestrians and other bored drivers looking round at the silly campervan people. Furthermore made worse by us having to reverse out as there was no way we would clear 2m. Meaning about 7 cars had to shift and snake their way backwards. The car behind got rather annoyed at the process and reversed, then drove off at high speeds. All very exciting.

We drove up the street nearby which was nearly a 45degree angle and managed to find somewhere to park. The spaces were horizontal against the gradient. This meant a rather uncomfortable sideway slant on the van, at first I genuinely thought it might roll over.

After that we went and got lunch in a local cafe attached to a art gallery, enjoying very fine soup in the cold weather. Afterwards we toured Dunedin, taking in the site and sounds, of this city. Which was original founded by the nephew of Robert bruns the Scottish poet. There are Scottish influence shops everywhere. We also had a look at the all black tshirts, an iconic souvenir. The cost of $220 per shirt forced us to reconsider the necessity of having this particular souvenir.

We also checked out some clothes shops to improve our totally inadequate inter wardrobe, as we had been freezing bit by bit for the last week. We could get reasonably cheap down jackets, which everyone is wearing, so we went away to think about it, having a million and one coats at home already.

Finally after many hours enjoying the city centre we headed to the campsite, a very expensive one, it turned out, so we booked for one night and vowed to find a different one in the morning.

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 16:10 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 60: Wednesday 1st May 2013

Penguin Time!

sunny 16 °C

We did washing and other chores this morning and then walked through town to the blue penguin colony at the far side of town. Situated in the cutout of an old quarry it provided shelter and safety for the endangered penguins who waddle from the sea back to their nesting boxes each night.
We sat for about 2 hours waiting for them to arrive, it was getting really cold but they only come to shore when its dark and they feel safe, the stands were pretty busy with a group of children and a coach load of Chinese people, the volume of noise was quite high yet eventually the penguins made an appearance. Eager to get back to their nests but reluctant to head out into the open they hovered by the rocks, cooling themselves down and oiling their feathers before making for their respective besting boxes.
There was a section just beyond the rocks that was quite exposed and being very nervous creatures it took one brave, or stupid depending on how you look at it, member of the group to take the plunge. They automatically arrange themselves into groups of between 10 and 20 when they make their way into shore and to run from the cover of the stones into their nesting box area, the first group took the plunge and disappeared out of sight into their nesting area, you could still hear them though quacking away, very much like ducks as they settled down for the evening: they clearly had a lot to talk about. Their nesting boxes were pretty small but then so were they: no bigger than 20 centimetres in height they are the smallest breed of penguin. They appeared more dark grey in colour but the commentator lady assured us they were blue. As the numbers of penguins dwindled so did the crown until we were left with only a handful of other people waiting for the last group to make a run for it, it was freezing! Eventually we made our way over to the nesting box area and managed to get a glimpse of some still loitering outside their boxes for their mates: presumably in the last group we had been waiting to get up some courage to come out into the open ( they couldn't see us as the area was lit up using orange light, a colour pigment they are unable to see so it all appears jet back to them).
Happy we had seen enough we made our way out of the centre and walked back along the shoreline to the campsite: only to see a whole group of blue penguins nestled by the side of the pavement, safe in the knowledge my iPad doesn't have a flash and so would be safe to use around them (the flash effects their night vision). I attempted to take a couple of photos, jiggers passed and I got pretty close taking photos and yet they weren't at all bothered. We wondered home, this time not frequenting the play area: it was far too cold!

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 02:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 59: Tuesday 30th April 2013

Whiskey, cheese and iron man

sunny 13 °C

We arrived in Oamaru quite early in the morning, we got the van parked up and then walked into town, firs stop: the whiskey shop. There was a tasting palette on offer with 4 different ages of whiskey, all produced by the same New Zealand based distiller. (Which is no longer making whiskey). Martin really enjoyed himself, I enjoyed the nice warmth and traditional surroundings of the old warehouse building; there was no point me trying them: they all tasted equally nasty to me.
After the whiskey we looked around some of the galleries in the warehouses along the street, popping into the bakery for a taste of one of their pies before heading along the harbour to the cheese factory. We had heard good things about its produce and wanted to try the most awarded cheese in New Zealand: their Windsor blue. We got a selection platter but unfortunately it wasn't tailored to our preferences (strong cheeses) so we had a few milder weaker flavours on the plate. They were tasty, by far the best was the Windsor with its creamy rich flavour: yum!
After cheese tasting we went to an award winning cafe to sample the coffee, we made the most of the warm comfortable surroundings: even sitting on a sofa; how novel! We decided to go to the cinema: it was Tuesday so the cheap day for watching a film rather than go back to the campsite and then back into town we decided to have a treat and go out for tea: just cheap burgers in a local pub but they tasted great: the quality of food, similar to Australia tends to be higher than the equivalent in the UK. Next we wandered down to the cinema, a cute little building, sandwiched on the Main Street between shops, it had an airport style seating area filled with sofas and a bar area similar to a pub from which they served the usual cinema fair.
After watching iron man 3 we walked back to the campsite in the cold clear evening, amusing ourselves briefly on the kids adventure playground en route: the play areas here are really impressive; like Australia the park play areas are the standard of those you have to pay to enter in the UK we had great fun!

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 02:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 58: Monday 29th April 2013

Moving on Down

sunny 15 °C

We went for a quick wander around the town, hoping to do one of the walks available in the area. On closer inspection they were based a lot on roads, not giving much opportunity to get off the beaten track so we decided to get moving, next stop was Omaru and we hoped to stop just short of town and find an over night stop.
En route we went through some fabulous countryside and some tiny, quaint towns with a real focus on agriculture. Martin managed to beat my free wheeling record with an impressive 7.7 km...although the last 0.3 were done at around 40 km but with a clear slightly uphill road, why not a very impressive drive along some very windy roads. We have tourist radio, which is a sat nav system that tunes into your radio, it plays a reasonable selection of music which gets interrupted periodically by a 'bing bing bong' which precludes interesting information about the area, New Zealand culture or a point of interest. The points of interest are very bias, presumably based on the amount of money the company has paid for the advert, with the recommending the most random businesses, it is also heavily sponsored by a large holiday park chain but it does point out a few interesting places to stop at en route, especially natural and/ or free sights which cannot be charged for and therefore aren't sponsoring them to publicise. We like it as its a constant source of music which doesn't keep fading in and out of signal, it kept us entertained with facts, including today's language fact, sponsored by Telstra the phone company, which explained the kiwi definition of 'mate', 'root' and 'rooting' all conducted in a posh radio four style.
We found a fabulous spot to stay over night: no 'no camping' signs and even a toilet, set back from the road...it's amazing how your perception of a great place can change! We cooked and watched a film before bed.

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 01:58 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 57: Sunday 28th April 2013

Quiet Day By The Sea

sunny 18 °C

We both woke up with head aches this morning and quickly concluded it was the wine, we couldn't understand it though as we hadn't drank that much...we decided to have a relaxing day, spending much of it around the van and enjoying the sunshine, by lunchtime we felt a lot better...we decided we definitely preferred the other wine we had got in Blenheim, which hadn't given us a headache...although the rich and creamy cheeses had probably had a hand in our bad heads too!

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 01:56 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 274) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 .. »