Hah! Who would have thought that barely a month after I flew back in from the South Island, I’d actually fly out again for a weekend getaway? I didn’t think I’d be going anywhere for the next who knows how long since I had kinda used up my savings but Air New Zealand came up with this amazing weekend package that was simply too delicious to resist.
Imagine this: 2 round trip airplane tickets from Auckland to Dunedin; accommodation for 2 nights at Living Space Dunedin, free parking at the Auckland Domestic Carpark, and free Speights Brewery tour for 2 all for just $219.00 (all inclusive and per person)! Who can resist that?!
So on Friday, I drove up to Auckland and spent the night at Ms Kaladkarin’s house because the flight on Saturday was quite early. Incidentally, Ms. Kaladkarin* and Travel Companion are just one and the same. She read my blog and requested that I change her ‘screen name‘ to Ms Kaladkarin and well … who was I to begrudge her request. Obviously, I went to Dunedin with Ms. Kaladkarin. Better to get lost with someone than to get lost on my own.
Anyway, we spent the long weekend (it was Auckland Anniversary Day on Monday, 26th January) at Dunedin. We went to a whole lot of tourist attractions, I think we saw a whole lot more in our 3 day stay in Dunedin than we did in our 12 day jaunt last Christmas! We went to (in no particular order of importance):
- Larnach Castle – NZ’s only surviving castle. It was built by William Larnach in 1871, and is now owned and run by the Barker family, who spent 40 years restoring the Castle (also known as “the Camp”) to its former glory. The Castle, though really impressive, has a very sad and tragic history. William Larnach, after experiencing a host of personal and professional disappointments, committed suicide in 1898. His eldest son would later on, unfortunately, follow in his footsteps. Entrance Fee: $25.00 – Garden and Castle; $10.00 Gardens only.
- Royal Albatross Colony – This is located at the very tip of the Otago Peninsula and about half an hour’s drive from Larnach Castle. We wanted to see the Albatrosses but opted against paying $40 for the ‘grand tour’ – I mean, they’re just birds, right?(sour grapes!) We were, however, able to view sealions / seals as they basked under the sun. They were funny. They didn’t mind being watched by people, in fact, I think one actually loved the attention! Tour Cost: Ranges from $19.00 to $40.00 depending on the tour inclusions. Fee for looking at the seals: ZERO.
- The Penguin Place – Just a few kilometers South West of the Albatross Colony, the Penguin Place is the home of the rare yellow-eyed penguin which we didn’t see. Again, due to our limited finances, we didn’t want to let go of $35.00 to see little flightless birds. I’ve seen Penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland, so how different would they be? (sour graping again!) Entrance Fee: $35.00
- Happy Hens – A quaint little craft shop in Portobello where the main items on display were (guess what) HENS! No entrance fee – just pop in and say hello.
- The Fletcher House – The very first house James Fletcher, founder of one of NZ’s leading construction companies, ever built. We had a guided tour and we found out that James Fletcher started his illustrious career with just a boxful of tools and 12 Pounds in his pocket. YEY! I’m now INSPIRED!!! Entrance Fee: $4.00; Fletcher House Brochure / History: $2.00
- Moeraki Boulders – These strange spherical boulders are actually not in Dunedin but about an hour’s drive north of the city. We missed a couple of turns and found ourselves at the Moeraki township but the small seaside town was so lovely we didn’t regret getting lost. No entrance fee.
- Oamaru – No, we weren’t able to visit the Clay Cliffs (WHY?!) because it was too far and we had to be back at Dunedin before dark but – we were able to walk around the centre, take pictures of and thoroughly appreciate the old-worldy charm of NZ’s only Victorian town. We also went to Bushy Beach, hoping to see penguins but it was still too early for the birds. We missed them again.
- Port Chalmers – Really just a drive-by because we no longer had time to really explore the area. We just drove past the coves, the bays, the beaches and took snapshots along the way. Lovely place. Didn’t realise that just a few more kilometers north we would have visited the site of the Aramoana Massacre. I didn’t know about this, my officemate just mentioned that little fact to me when I told her we went to Port Chalmers.
Of course we had to go to the world’s steepest street and naturally, we walked all the way to the top because we didn’t want to risk driving up and getting stuck somewhere in the middle (later on I was so tempted to just roll down the hill to return to the car), the Otago University, and drove past the beautifully preserved buildings in and around the city itself.
We had such a wonderful time and good lordy, we didn’t spend that much! Well, I spent a wee bit more that Ms. Kaladkarin because I opted to ‘sit’ for a victorian photo shoot and I bought a nice top and a cute skirt at Farmers (as if there isn’t a Farmers in Hamilton, eh?)!
OH! And despite all that walking and driving, I did not have sore feet! I learned from my previous mistake so I made sure I had proper walking shoes – not just lovely pink jandals – this time around. The boots were quite heavy and cumbersome to put on but they did protect my little feetsies from the elements.
Photos to be uploaded sometime next week, when my laptop has been upgraded. Right now it is in dire need of a new RAM and I am unable to even open photoshop without it warning me about something. Darn it!
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*Kaladkarin – from the Filipino root word “Kaladkad” meaning, to drag. Term used for someone whom one can easily ‘drag’ along