Sheep, sheep everywhere. When you roll through the lovely hills and gorges of the southeastern portion of the south island you get all the postcards and travel posters. Sheep are on every hillside diligently grazing away.
That’s what we saw as we pulled into Dunedin. It’s a beautiful city in a bowl at the head of a long harbor. Here the flavor is Scottish and the buildings are built of local limestone.
Rain and low clouds were forecast for the following two days so we decided to head out to the Otago Peninsula while the sun was shining. The High Cliff Road gave us stunning views of the long narrow harbor below. Sometimes the water was lime green and, at other times, it was light blue. Finally, the road wound down to the little town of Portobello then it followed the coast to the road’s end.
The wind was blowing hard. When we opened the car door, we had to push it closed. Wearing multiple layers and a pair of gloves helped but it was essential to have a hood tied up around my ears. Many tour buses had made their way to the end of the road to look at the same beach. A few seals were resting in the sun but there were no tiny blue penguins to be seen. They had all gone fishin’ and wouldn’t come back until dusk. The same is true of the yellow eyed penguins. To see them you must go sit in a hidey hut. If they DO see YOU they get upset and puke up the food they are bringing to their young.
So, it was back to the car and stopping for photos and watching Dunedin advance in our view.
About mid afternoon we pulled into town and did a walk around the Octagon. That is the city center and has lots of lovely cafes, shops and art galleries. Almost every larger town in New Zealand has an I Site. That is the visitor center.
The next day we returned to the Octagon, and I booked a one hour walking tour of the city center. While doing this, Dave found a couple from Dayton Ohio who were in town for business. They were here for six weeks. Small world.
My guide took me around to several churches, statues, government buildings, and the railway station. One surprise was that Andrew Carnegie, who was Scotts, built a library here. Up the hill from the city center are several schools. All the students in this country wear uniforms, And the six-to-ten-year olds use their scooters to get around. There seem to be no skateboards or two wheeled bikes until they get older.
After 5 pm, I rejoined Dave and we went to early dinner. This is where we wanted to try the world famous bluff oysters that had just come into season. Price wise they are very dear and, frankly they tasted much like the oysters we had in New Orleans but we weren’t sorry to have sampled them.
Before we headed back for the night, we drove through the university section of town. If you close your eyes, you could easily imagine any campus. There were the usual pubs and bookstores and streets crawling with students. Porches had strumming guitarists and flags hanging out of windows. Compact, historical, charming and beautiful Dunedin captured my imagination on that sunny day.
Luckily we saw her in her best dress because the next day it was gray and rainy. It was a good day to catch up on reading and writing.