Thursday, 9 February 2012

NZ travelogue: Day 5

We could afford ourselves a slightly later-than-normal breakfast during our stay at the Albatross Inn in Dunedin. The reason was because it would be a comparatively shorter drive from Dunedin to our next destination for the night in Oamaru. They were just about 110 kilometres apart and therefore even a slow drive would take us from Point A to Point B in perhaps not more than 90 minutes.

With this in mind, we set out to explore the region. My original plan was to go wander around the city centre and take in the old Victorian and Edwardian architecture. I had also made a reservation at the Cadbury Centre. Who could ever resist a tour of a chocolate factory? Not me!

But I was also in two minds about wanting to go outside the city. One of the reasons for coming to New Zealand was to enjoy Dunedin's eco-tourism, their nature and the natural landscape. And I had heard that there were a diversity of attractions beyond the isthmus of the Otago peninsula.

In the end, we drove up to the Royal Albatross Centre at the end of the peninsula. I think what settled this decision was that we could also visit the Larnach Castle along the way. This was the only such castle in the whole of New Zealand and sounded like an interesting place to visit.

Unfortunately we ended up spending too much time at the castle, we even had our lunch there, and it meant that we could only drive up to the Royal Albatross Centre for a quick look around. It turned out that it wasn't even a "quick look around." We only managed to make it as far as their visitor's centre for the obligatory photograph:

By the way, this was about as close as we ever got to an albatross, even if it was only a stuffed bird:

And then we went all excited like two little kids when we saw some of the merchandise selling at the centre, namely, these items:

Yup, you read correctly. Belly button wamers and willy warmers. To keep you warm during the cold nights. Made from genuine possum fur. And no, we didn't buy.

We also stopped by the Sandfly Bay Wildlife Refuge to take in the vista. This photograph is just to say that, well, we were there, even if it was just for a few fleeting minutes. Really, unless you have the time to go tramping around and particularly, down to the sand dunes far below, there's no point staying for long. It was the end of autumn and daylight was against us. Nevertheless, it was a very refreshing view of the Southern Ocean. We were looking towards the Antartic.

From the Royal Albatross Centre, we took a lazy drive back to Dunedin along the Portobello Road. The road hugs the sea all the way to the city and we could imagine that at high tide the water would reach up to the road. Worse, if ever a tsunami were to strike, the road would be totally immersed.

By the time we arrived back at Dunedin, it was past three-thirty in the afternoon. The time for my reservation at the Cadbury Centre had come and gone. We had missed the factory tour. As a result, we had also missed the free chocolate goodies they were giving out to visitors. Darn. Our only consolation was to drown choke ourselves on their chocolates with our money. I must say that the varieties and quality were far beyond my expectation. There were varieties that we would never ever get back home. And they were selling for such ridiculously low prices! A big bar of imported Cadbury chocolates (made in Australia) costs almost RM20 but here in the Dunedin Cadbury factory, the same big bar costs only NZD3 (equivalent to RM7.50 at the most). Incredibly cheap. We ended spending something like NZD30 on chocolates for the relatives back home.

There was to be a final stop for us at Baldwin Street in Dunedin before we finally bade farewell to this interesting city. Time was already after four-thirty. By the time arrived in Oamaru, it was after six o'clock, and it was again driving in the dark for the third day in a row. Only wished we had more light and more time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing i look forward to doing this trip.