Day 48 Dunedin
Today I’m heading north along SH1 up to Dunedin. After a very foggy start to the morning I head out from The Kaka point camp ground and head along Kaka point road until I reach the small town of Balclutha. Its Otago’s largest town with just over 4000 residents, and is situated on the edge of the mighty Clutha river. I stop of to get a couple of quick photos of the bridge then carry on my way. This is where I join SH1 and follow it all the way to Dunedin.
After the 100km journey from Kaka point I arrive in down town Dunedin. I found a carpark and did a bit of shopping before finding somewhere for a late lunch. After lunch it was time to have a look around the city. The city is known for its University as well as some of it Victorian and Edwardian architecture. That’s what I’m going to check out. The Historic Dunedin Train Station is first on the list, it’s one of New Zealand’s most photographed buildings and you can see why, the stunning stone architecture with the nicely groomed gardens out the front.
The Station was opened in 1906 and became the busiest in the country, having around 100 pass through a day. Now it’s a little quieter, only catering for a couple of the tourist rides every day. The station has been kept as much as possible to its original state, the 750,000 Royal Dolton Tiles cover the booking hall floor, stained glass windows and it has NZ’s longest main platform, the 1km long platform that gets transformed once a year into a catwalk for the South Island Fashion show. Since the decline of trains visiting the station, it is now home to the New Zealand Sports hall of Fame museum and the Otago Art Society.
After having a look around inside I head upstairs a check out the NZ Sports of Fame, a $6 entry and then in through the barrier to be greeted by a big cardboard cut-out of one the rugby greats, Jonah Lomu. Heading in through into the first room is all the legends of the game of Rugby. Bits of information and photos of the 1924 Allblack Invincibles, the Squad of the 1987 world cup winning team, as well as individuals like George Nepia, Collin Meads and Sean Fitzpatric.
The rest of the hall is filled with little bit memorabilia, photos and facts about the greats of New Zealand sport. Housing one of Peter Snells Gold medals he won at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics’, Sir Bob Charlies Golf clubs he used for many years and won some major events with, along with people like, Barbara Kendell, Sir Edmund Hillary, Bruce McLaren, Wynton Ruffer and Sarah Ulmer to name a few. Great place for a visit if your into sports, and remember some of the greats.
Next building is just up the hill, and around the Octagon to the St Paul’s Cathedral and town hall. Unfortunately, all the churches I visited had some kind of renovations going on and scaffolding around them. Only a couple of photos and then around to the next, The first church of Otago. Built in 1873 as the first Presbyterian church in the area, it has a 60m high bell tower which can be seen from around the city and was constructed out of creamy Oamaru stone.
Making my way back to the van I had to stop in at the Cadbury chocolate factory. All the tours were booked out so I just went into the shop and stocked up on my supply of Easter eggs, hot chocolate and had to try a few of their special edition bars. After getting my chocolate fix I planned to head out to the peninsular and see a bit of wildlife. After 15mins driving out of town I could see the weather was changing and fast, big dark clouds where rolling in and the wind was starting to pick up so I decided to turn around and head further south and hope to get to Tunnel beach before the weather reached there.
10mins south of down town Dunedin is Tunnel Beach car park. I take the 20min walk down to the Tunnel beach, nice track zigzagging its way down to the limestone cliffs and tunnel. With this stunning landscape, it’s another popular spot for photographers, especially for its sunsets. I get down and have a walk around the little headland and on top of the arch carved out by the sea. On the way back to the path I noticed a small hole in the side of a small hill, and went to inspect, it was a tunnel that lead down to a small rocky beach. Hand carved out in the 1870s to gain access to the secluded beach. Best time to come is low tide if you want to explore the rocky beach, as there were some big waves crashing in when I was there.
The weather was holding off for now so I make the climb back up to the van for a bit of dinner and wait for sunset, hoping the clouds will stay away. And they did, staying out on the horizon just long enough for a few pictures as the sun set. The sky changed colours, bringing out the pinks and oranges before darkness slowly creeped in. Time to head to camp for the night. I found a nice little freedom camp just a few mins away next to a rugby park and parked up there for the night. Tomorrow I head inland for a long journey up to a well-known lake.