Monday, 4 December 2017

Southlands to Dunedin, Otago Peninsula

For our last night at Owaka, we book a table again at Lumberjacks Restaurant. It doesn't fail us and I succumb to Blue Cod with duck fat roasted potatoes, and Rich to slow-cooked beef cheeks that have simmered for over 5 hours to create its delicious flavour. If only Bridgetown offered this sort of dining at such reasonable prices. We can do better.

We farewell the tuis who've been drinking copiously from the jug of (mildly) sugary water that we leave on a pole for them. There may well be a paucity of fresh water because it's been so dry.

We spot an odd sight along the road. Some Kiwi farmer has asked Santa to sit and fish his hill - clear case of mistaken location!

Our first stop as we head towards Dunedin is Sod Cottage, a short distance beyond Balclutha. It is a mud-rendered cottage, just one room, and used in the 19th century by early settlers. Finances prohibit further renovations and the mud is peeling off the side wall. It is operated by the Catlins Historical Society, open 24/7 and is a lovely little cottage on a very busy road.

The GPS guides us through Dunedin to the Otago Peninsula and we negotiate carefully the narrow, coast-hugging road to our next Airbnb accommodation (Cedar Loft, Broad Bay).

We are not disappointed with this loft - it is a compact unit with everything carefully thought out. I don't intend to ruin my holiday cooking, so the lack of a proper kitchen isn't an issue.

We have three days here in Dunedin and spend time at Larnach Castle, view the flypass of Royal Albatrosses and snoop about the secondhand book shops for more essential reading.

Dunedin Railway Station

Views of Larnach Castle, built between 1869 and 1890.
Now owned by the Barker family and still needs further renovations, but most of the rooms have been beautifully restored along with appropriate furniture.

Two views of the bathroom. The bath is solid marble.
Note the lead-covered drain below the two sinks.

 The butter room, where various butter/cheese making machines are kept.

The Royal Albatross have recently returned to lay eggs and we can see four from the lookout. This is the only land-based colony in NZ. As we watch, a juvenile flies past but is too fast to capture properly. When we leave, we are buzzed by (maybe) the same albatross as he/she views a good landing spot. These birds generally spend at least 5 years at sea before coming back to mate. It's no wonder they have a crash landing when they first hit landfall.

My boots capture seagull poo - it reminds me of the penguin colonies on Antarctica and I wash the boots as soon as I can. I can't see Customs officials being happy with smelly boots!

It's been an interestingly varied holiday, but the highlight for me was the Routeburn Track, which surpassed all my expectations. Now to plan the next holiday walking in the German Bavarian Forest National Park.

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