Double Down Dunedin

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Portabello Village Tourist Park

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, May 9, 2011

Driving into Dunedin we passed a string of the global fastfood joints. It was 12:20pm. KFC had a queue out of the door while Mickey D's had one loyal patron salivating in anticipation of his happy meal. Guess these Dunediners love the Colonel secret recipe! (see pics to discover the reason)

We decided to by-pass the city and head straight for the Otago Peninsula. Even in slightly overcast conditions, it was breath-taking. One minute you're driving alongside the natural harbour with the backdrop of the hustle and bustle of the city. But as soon as you head onto scenic High Cliff road it's like you're in the middle of nowhere! Suicidal sheep grazing on steep,
rolling hills makes for an amusing winding road. Finally on the other side of the peninsula, you're wowed by one gorgeous beach after the other. This is my favourite NZ road so far, as long as I'm not behind the steering wheel!

Next day we explored the city centre and found the only hostel that allowed campervans to park and use their facilities at a reduced rate. Don't believe rival hostels who say no one in town does this! So we parked at the back of the hostel sheltered by surrounding buildings, good thing too because it got really windy that night.

With our city base established and free parking secured, we took in the sights...

The Otago museum was interesting, learning about all the people, animals and plants of the Pacific. They had a funny face exhibition too, where you could capture your image and alter them in different ways. I am not gonna age well!

Otago University campus/canteen had a good vibe too. We sauntered into the Information studies department (how appropriate), not sure if we were allowed to be there. Don't mind us guys, we're just providing adult supervision.

We were initially hesitant to do the Speight's tour as we've done our fair share of similar tours in Europe. But so glad we did! It's a small and family-like brewery with just 15 people employed there. This working brewery increased their capacity by 75% since the recent Christchurch
earthquake so they're running 24 hours a day. Hmmmm nothing like fresh hopps in the morning! Reminded me of good times living in digs in Newlands. We especially enjoyed the end of the tour where we had unlimited (but time-constrained) access to the taps!

We mostly had good weather but that last night it was all rock 'n roll in the van. We're talking trees-blowing-over, waves-in-the-harbour, and rocks-falling-off mountains kinda winds of up to 130km/hr. A random local that we met near the fallen tree (see pic) reckons he'd never seen it this bad in all the 50 years he'd lived there. That bad, huh?

But we negotiated our way around rocks and trees because we couldn't leave town without pushing Mr T's limits. Would it make it up the "world's steepest road"? Sure did, with flying colours! And back down again :)

One more thing do before "kapping aan" (pronounced "cupping un", meaning - "hitting the road", origin - Cape Flats)... we had to stock up for the next leg. In NZ one can always tell if a town has a significant SA population by the range of Saffa products in its supermarkets. No Niknaks and Mrs Balls at Pak n' Save Dunedin, I'm afraid :( Good thing the vibe and scenery makes up for it, and then some!

Definitely a city to revisit.
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