Saturday, September 23, 2006


We followed the scenic route out of Oamaru in the morning toward Dunedin. This road stayed by the sea for a fair way, eventually joining up with the main highway. Along the way we passed farms with fields that stretched right to the beach. At Moeraki we stopped to see the boulders. These are a bunch of smallish boulders that have eroded from the cliffs and now stand on the beach. Being cheapskates, we parked in the Department of Conservation car park a way up the beach rather than the visitors centre, thus avoiding the $2 charge and getting a short walk thrown in. As we walked along the beach Gemma was mocking the fact that we, as well as others, had turned up to see a bunch of small stones on a beach. To be honest I was wondering if New Zealand would turn out to be like Australia, where any tiny thing is seized upon and marketed as a 'must-see' tourist attraction. In the end though the boulders were quite interesting, having eroded with some strange vein like patterns, which made the half-buried stones look a bit like tortoiseshells. The Maori have legends saying that the stones are the round food baskets of an ancestral canoe which came to grief on a greenstone collecting expedition.

On the beach was a dog yapping to have a stick thrown for him. We thought he must be with a couple who threw the stick a couple of times, but when they left we realised that he must just be hanging out on the beach wanting people to play with. I had picked up a stick to write in the sand, something which made the dog very interested. My stick was bigger and he looked at me greedily until I threw it for him.

We arrived in Dunedin, parked up at Leith Holiday Park then walked into town. Dunedin was first settled by the Scottish and is supposed to retain a strong Scottish influence. Other than a few street names, the statue of Robert Burns in the square and one old woman's accent in a shop I couldn't really see it. There wasn't a single kilt wearer or bagpipe player in the town at all. What there was though was a town of groovy looking café bars and university students milling round. We had a walk around the centre and a coffee in a rather cool café that reminded me of Mr. Pickwicks in Cape Town. It had banging drum & bass playing and original artwork on the walls. I think we would have stayed longer in the town but we were feeling quite fatigued and the sky was looking like it might open up and dump water on us so we wandered back to the campsite.

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