Scotland Down-Under!

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Jul 09, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello all,

A 6 hour journey south saw us 400km further down the south island (you could do that slightly quicker in england eh?) we had passed through many little towns and villages, including ashburton (my mums birthplace - so pretty cool to see that!). Anyway it was far better than the previous couple of journeys we had had.  We pulled up in Dunedin, to torrential rain!!! After deciding we just needed to get to the hostel, we could appreciate the city later, we walked as quick as we could with our bags, even in raincoats we arrived outside the Elm lodge like completely drowned rats, as we walked in the place smelt old and damp, lovely.  A very sweet swedish girl checked us in and took our money before showing us around, quite quirky i guess, lots of little rooms but i just didnt really want to be there, think i was just grumpy from the rain! however then we walked into the room we were staying in, an oversized lounge with single beds along each of the walls and one in the middle - I was to be on that one, hmmm. We suddenly noticed that the roof was leaking and sploshing loudly into a baking tray in one area, the girl was like yea i've told my boss he'l sort it at some point...then i looked at my bed, totally soaked on one side from the leak above my bed.  I must have given steve a very "pity me" look as he walked out to the desk, explained that it wasnt really what we were expecting and could we check out and have our money back - wow and she actually said i dont blame you and refunded us in cash =) woopee! however we were now in a rainstorm with no where to sleep for the night...the next street down was a backpackers called Hogwartz, we opened the door to lovely wood panelling, a lovely light, airy feel, clean tidy, warm and no leaks!! thankfully they had spare beds for the night and we couldnt have felt happier. A beautiful huge mansion style house, grand staircase, huge clean kitchen, dinning room, reading loft (a built in wooden level in a tall room you reached via a wooden ladder with cushions and sofas on it, lovely) it looked like a palace from where we had come =) after popping to the supermarket we cooked dinner, drank lots of tea and spent the evening getting to know some people and chilling out in the dvd lounge with everyone (harrry potter (of course) and lord of the rings, two towers).

We woke up refreshed (and dry!) on monday, petted the dogs (two adorable jack russels - astrix and bella - who had it sorted for attention in the hostel!) and headed out to explore the town. The town is amazing, scottish settlers first came here so the home accent often has a little scottish twang, but it means that the buildings and architecture and so scottish.  Huge gothic churches line the roads with plenty of scottish pubs if you need your fill on whisky.  Set right on the coast it boosts lovely beaches and its one of the biggest and definately the oldest university town here so plenty of shopping, bars and young people.  We jumped on a bus and arrived at the foot of Baldwin Street officially (Guinness book of records approved the steepest street in the world!).  We hot footed it up and read at the top that every year the "gutbuster" event is held here, races up and down it, the fastest up and down on record is 1 minute and 56 seconds!! totally crazy, it may not be a long road but it is so high!!! it made us puff just walking up it! and we did walk up and down it - we have the certificate for proof!!!

Next stop the gorgeus botanical gardens, huge landscaped gardens stretching out for acres, from ponds and flat areas to tea rooms and rock gardens, huge hills, south african areas, meditarrean gardens and terraces, really beautiful. we picnic-ed before we carried on back towards the centre of the town.  A wonderful building stands proud on the edge of the centre, the thai gorge railway building, housing museums and art gallerys, along with an old steam passenger train departing several times a day to go up into the mountains, the architecture is beautiful and really stands out.

Next stop - the chocolate factory =) =) =) you may think of cadburys as an english thing and thats where it started but in the early 1900s they bought a factory out here, and it does its own things, the chocolate tastes different and as we found out jafa's here do not mean jafa cakes, they are small bright orange coated dark chocolate balls - delicious! We got shown around and showered with free samples including liquid chocolate. A very yummy way to spend the afternoon although i was slightly upset to find that in my old age i have developed a too much chocolate level! Every year the factory give 50,000 jafas away, people pay $2 to own one and they are all poured down Baldwin street (steepest street), the owner of the winner gets huge money and the rest gets given to charity - how cool does that sound? would be amazing to live on that street, your house must get covered in chocolate balls!

Full of chocolate we headed into town, browsed the outdoor shops for more kit (washing stuff and flash lights for our trek next week) before heading back to the hostel and chilling out with everyone for the evening, i really loved the hostel.

Tuesday we shopped, snapped lots of photos and jumped on a bus in the opposite direction to the previous day out to St Clairs beach, it was a tad cloudy so we had huge wonderful hot chocolates in a little cafe while it cleared before spending the afternoon wandering the white sand beaches, keeping our eyes peeled for more seals and penguins, and reading while the boys from the nearby school had their PE lessons - surfing!!!!!!

In the evening we headed out to a recommended japenese sushi restaurant, unbelievably good food, I had salmon steak platter, it was glazed with a delicious sauce over rice with roasted vegetables, miso soup and an amazing salad for the equivilant of about 6pounds!! i tried a japense choya wine (plum) deliciously sweet, the asian culture over here is huge, i really love the light healthy side it pumps into food over here.  We spent the evening exploring the night life of dunedin, from irish bars to brewary pubs, student bars and an impromptu haka performed by about 60 lads (assuming uni students) who stripped off to their shorts and lined the centre road of the octagon (the huge octagon shaped area in the centre of the city lined with cafes and bars!) A wonderful evening!

With a slightly fragile head this morning (i had ound cider on tap in one of the bars - very unusual in nz) we packed up, checked out of our wonderful hostel and headed out to the beach again, a lovely hot walk along the sands dipping our toes into the water, before a quick lunch at sushi express and last minute shop browsing its time to move to the next city.

Lots of love to everyone,
P xxxxxxxxxxx
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Hazel Genner on

:H:i Pip & Steve - So glad you enjoyed Dunedin, where I lived for 14 years from age 4, and always loved. ( By the way the Railway is to the Taieri (Tyeri) Gorge - not the Thai Gorge!). Assume you're heading to Invercargill, so you're already in the deep south! Hope you have wonderfully fine weather for your Milford Tramp, & that the ankle is really back to normal by now. Luv, KG & P xx

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