We only spent one afternoon and night in Dunnedin, New Zealand’s Scottish city, but we sure made the most of it. We went for an afternoon tour of the Cadbury Chocolate factory which was ‘sweet as..’ as they say in NZ. Unfortunately, we were unable to take our cameras inside the factory where Cadbury employs over 900 people, but we took some cute pics outside.
The Cadbury factory supplies most of the chocolate for New Zealand as well as some for export to Australia and some Asian countries as well.
In the evening, on the advise of our hotel manager, we took off to Sandfly Bay to see if we would be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the rare yellow eyed penguins that inhabit the South island of New Zealand. After a slippery walk down the soft warm sand on the sand dune surrounding the beach, we walked to the opposite end of the shore and climbed the berm to the official ‘hide’, a small shack where we would sit quietly, watch and wait. Jenny spotted a penguin right away who had climbed the hill to rest for the night and about 30 minutes later we saw one swim in from sea, after a day of fishing. In total, we spotted three yellow eyed penguins – awesome! Those of you who have seen Happy Feet will know these as Lovelace.
We just couldn’t leave Dunnedin without visiting Baldwin Street. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Baldwin St. in Dunnedin is the steepest in the world! At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is approximately (19° or 35%) - that is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the altitude rises by 1 metre. We were too pooped from climbing back up the sand dune the night before, to attempt to walk the hill, we we admired it from the bottom. Ooooh! Ahhhh!
Then we were off! Just South of Omarau, we stopped to walk down to the Koekohe beach to see the Moeraki Boulders. These spherical stones are a great mystery. There are several spheres on the beach and some of them have cracked open revealing a hollow interior with a yellowish smooth stone inside. These septarian concretions, grey in colour have been revealed as the black mudstone forming the shoreline has been eroded. They are believed to have been originally formed in ancient sea floor sediments during the early Paleocene around 60 million years ago. Strange indeed! You can read more about them at http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/destinations/moeraki.html
Alas, after a total of five and a half hours of driving, some of which Jocelyn did, of course, we arrived in Christchurch. Christchurch is a very big city and like Dunnedin has some beautiful architecture.
For the past 2 weeks, Christchurch has hosted the World Buskers Festival and we were lucky enough to take in some of the acts. One of the big venues was located just outside the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral. Our favorite was Cirque No Problem, a husband and wife team who do juggling and trapeze, they were very funny and excellent at what they do. We hope they win the competition!
We’re staying in a beautiful beachside apartment while we enjoy this beautiful city. Today we did the Adrenalin Course, a multi level aerial obstacle course made up of rope bridges, Tarzan swings and zip lines built high in the forest. There are 100 challenges divided over six levels which take around four hours to complete. I did the first four levels while Jenny completed five and Jay and Jocelyn did all six. Level Six, the highest and most challenging is 20 meters above the ground. This activity was both physically and mentally challenging and we were exhausted when we were done.