Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday: Dunedin -> Manapouri

I spent the morning exploring Dunedin, starting with the railway station with its beautiful old-time mosaic tile. Walked into the centre of town and did a lap around the Octagon, the central - um - octagon, stopping in a few shops, and picking up some groceries for the cooler. Back at the railway station I checked out the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, smaller than its Australian counterpart that I had seen a few days ago in Melbourne, and focused on rugby (of course) and the Olympics (less space given to cricket than I would have guessed). There was also an exhibit on Sir Edmund Hilary which was a bit surprising (I guess I don't think of mountaineering as "sport").

[railway station photos coming when better internet connection permits]

Next I went to the Otago Settlers Museum down the street, a fabulously beautiful and fairly interesting record of settlement in the area, with sections dedicated to war, automobiles, and the evolution of home appliances over the past century (I felt old when I recognized an old washing machine with wringers at the top, similar to one I remember my mother had in the early 1960s!).

I decided to walk to a restaurant I had picked out nearby, and then realized it was on the other side of the railway tracks, making the approach more interesting. I found a pedestrian walkway that led to an overpass that wasn't too much out of the way, but when I got to the restaurant I found it was closed for some work being done. They directed me to another place nearby that had a nice view of the harbour, and I had a good lunch of fishcakes with aioli and salad.

[food porn photo to follow when better internet connection permits]

After lunch I headed out to Manapouri, a 3 1/2 hour drive south-west. Along the way, at about Balclutha, I was further south in the world than I have ever been (or will be on this trip). The scenery varied a bit from what I had seen earlier, with more gorgeous views that defy being captured by camera (though I try), lots of cattle and lots more sheep, and a few antlered animals I can't yet place (deer? elk? reindeer? I've seen venison on a few menus, but I'm not sure exactly what these were).

[more photos of scenery will go here]

On the way to Manapouri I drove through a bunch of very small towns, including Clinton, whose welcome sign described it as a Three Horse Town. Manapouri turned out to be more of a one-horse town; I think the motel where I'm staying might have the only restaurant that is open this time of year. It's clearly low season here. I arrived around 5pm, checked in at the cafe as reception was closed, and saw only a couple of other cars in the parking lot. I was the only one in the restaurant for dinner, though there were a handful of people in the bar next door. So it's pretty quiet here, and the internet access (which again doesn't work from my room) is only good for 30 minutes at a time. I had a quick drive around town and got my bearings for where to show up for my boat trip tomorrow, had dinner, and read and watched a bit of TV until bedtime.

Sent from my iPad

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