We parked last night next to two memorials for thirteen Aramoana locals shot dead by a fellow resident on this date in 1990. A somewhat sombre start to the day, having been woken by the maintenance staff mowing and trimming around us.
Today we do Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the south. Our first task was to find somewhere to park our 7.2 metre motor home – there were no designated slots and we overhang normal car parking spots. Looking for something suitable gave us a chance to circumnavigate the centre of the city a couple of times, until T suggested the railway station, where we joined quite a few other motorhomers who’d obviously had the same dilemma.
Having parked there, a tour of this magnificent and beautifully preserved building followed.
There should be a lovely photograph here but Apple and the internet conspred to prevent us accessing it. Will post later if we can.
Our next visit was to the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum – following the map from the Railway Station on Anzac Avenue, across Castle Street, up Stuart Street, down Cumberland Street to Castle Street, to discover it was next door to the station, about 50 metres from where we’d parked. D’s map reading skills have apparently dulled.
The museum was terrific, tracing the history of the area from the original Iwi inhabitants through to European settlement and the present day, noting that there had been a very high level of integration through treaties and inter-marriage, but acknowledging that there had been some conflict between settlers and locals.
Looked up the second Presbyterian Church, Knox Church, where D had a special prayer asking forgiveness for his cranky responses to pedestrians who walked on the wrong (right) side of the footpath or who barreled out of shops expecting the passing traffic to get out of their way. There were a couple of instances en route.
The bit of Dunedin CBD we saw (and admittedly just a very small part of it) is fairly pedestrian and a bit grubby but the city’s beautiful harbor location and its commitment to preserving historical and natural features well and truly redeems it. And (pedestrians aside) the people have been welcoming, engaged and friendly whatever the context.
After a quick resupply at Countdown it was time to head to Portobello, on the opposite side of Otago Harbour from last night, positioning ourselves to visit the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head. The narrow winding road along the peninsula to Taioroa is a series of tiny bays, with steep hillsides where homes and lush gardens perch precariously and landslides are an issue. Where urban Dunedin runs out, small holiday shacks take over. Interestingly, despite the glorious setting, leisure craft were non-existent. Perhaps Dunedin is not affluent enough for this recreation?
Arrived at T Head around 5pm and actually regretted that the afternoon was so calm. Yesterday had been cold and blustery: perfect conditions for albatross viewing. Despite this there were enough albatross soaring from their land nests to satisfy the onlookers. T remarked on how similar to the Saturday glider these sea birds looked! From the viewing walkway we also saw seals and sea lions on the rock ledges below, and Spotted Shags on other cliff faces.
Memorable moment of the day? As we returned to the campground, we observed two gentlemen dressed in Scottish kilts. D later overheard a European tourist camper ask the park manager: ‘What sort of party are those men going to?’ Didn’t wait for the answer.