After meeting a deadline on Friday, I hopped in the car with Keith & coworkers and headed to the land of Speights Ale, Cadbury chocolate, and the next All Blacks vs England rugby game (aka Dunedin). When you talk to any Kiwi about Dunedin they’ll tell you “Dunedin is a hole!” (the fact that the accent makes “hole” sound like “ho” makes this even more amusing). This statement becomes fact as you drive down into the city which is, quite literally, a topographic hole.
*Quick Break* to remind myself of a great dinner pit stop –> On our way down from Christchurch we stopped in Timaru for dinner. After slowly rolling around main street for a bit we came across a restaurant wedged on a side street, yet filled with people. Obviously we ate here — Saikou — for tapas and whiskey. We are doing quite a good job about winging it with food options, this place was fabulous! We wish we had one of these in Christchurch.
Around 11:30pm we finally got to Barnett Lodge. I took on the task of finding housing for the weekend and it was challenging. When the All Blacks play in Dunedin the city books up MONTHS in advance. When I called around to every hostel, motel, & hotel in town over a month ago I got a lot of laughs when requesting a booking for this weekend. Luckily, Barnett Lodge showed up on airbnb that week and the owners were more than accommodating when I mentioned we’d like to squeeze 9 people into their house. It was a bonus that this place was an eclectic and fascinating place to stay–an old Tudor mansion that had been in the family for generations. We saw a lot of photos and heard a lot of stories from the owners. Plus we got breakfast set up for us each morning!
Saturday morning I really wanted to get out and see Dunedin. Keith, a few coworkers, and I hopped in the car and headed first to Tunnel Beach. We had to make a fairly steep descent to the beach but it was worth it. There was an actual tunnel that was dug out in the 1800s so some girls could get to the beach below. The tunnel still exists today and of course we walked through it to get to the beach! I’ll let the photos do the talking now…
Flanders Hike Photo of the Week…
A couple coworkers literally ran down the path and got out to the lookout point first. Which just allowed for a great photo opp.
After tunnel beach we drove around the big peninsula to the east of Dunedin. At the suggestion of the owners we drove out on the high road, stopped in Portobello for lunch, and then returned back on the low road. If we ever go back, I’ll be sure to check out the penguin and albatross sanctuary at the end of the peninsula.
Then it was GAME TIME!!! We walked to the center of town, grabbed a drink, then took a shuttle to the nearby stadium.
You thought that beginning-of-game chant in Remember the Titans was cool? Then you will love the haka! The haka is a war chant of the Maori people (New Zealand natives). It’s a cultural tradition and opposing teams have to stand a certain distance away and watch. It was a rather big deal during the World Cup (yes, soccer isn’t the only sport with a world cup) a few years ago when France literally “crossed a line” while the haka was being performed. They eventually had to pay a fine. To conclude, I was pretty excited to see the haka live!! Keith and I literally ran to our seats after we grabbed our beer and the last meat pie in the stadium to watch. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the field, but here is my video anyways to give you a small glimpse into how epic this was–
The game was incredible. Very exciting and close the entire time! The All Blacks, of course, remained victorious. We all went back into town and celebrated in the Octagon–the central part of the city.
Sunday morning was spent cleaning up and watching some World Cup (football!) games before checking out. My car made a few tourist pit stops. First was Baldwin Street — the steepest street in the world. It’s located in the suburbs and follows an average slope of 1:5. Not going to lie, it is actually a little frightening to walk up it! Keith got caught on the non-stairs side and had a suspenseful time crossing over due to the wet & slightly slippery conditions.
Then it was off to the Moeraki boulders! The boulders are a huge tourist trap in New Zealand; however, quite interesting! On a beautiful large beach there is a small area with several completely spherical rocks. We looked up the facts (obviously! – engineering problems) and discovered these rocks are called “septarian concretions.” This basically means they are hard formed sedimentary rock formed in voids within the earth. These rocks were eventually exposed due to the ocean eating away at the shore. What we still can’t answer though–why are they in this ONE spot along the whole beach? hmm…
We got some great photos on the rocks…but don’t be fooled, climbing on these rocks with the tide rolling in is a complicated process!
The last stop of our weekend trip was lunch at The Last Post in Oamaru. This may have been the best fish & chips I’ve had in my life, so I definitely wanted to log this place on the blog. A great little find for being a random pub stop. This gem used to be the old post office, but the community wanted a big greek-esque structure, so they abandoned this building and moved into a new giant building beside it. Good thing, because a pub moved in and makes some great food.
Luckily, winter has been fairly tame thus far which will help us with planning more outdoor activities over the next few months! This Friday we’re headed to the annual Lyttleton Festival of Lights, then most likely finding another local hike on Saturday or Sunday. Until then…