Hamiltons on Tour 2010 travel blog

View across Otago harbour from the peninsula

A big seagull..or is it an albatross

Chris & Ally, on the Otago Peninsula

On the wildlife trail

A friendly Fur Seal

The rare Yellow Eyed Penguin

All aboard our 8-wheel drive

Ally & Dougie at cadbury World

getting a bit bored, so mucking about with the camera and mirrors..

on the road to Te Anau

Sunday 16th May

We have moved camp to Te Anau, hoping to use it as a base for Milford Sound and possibly Queenstown. We started the day undecided as to whether to stay another day in Dunedin and do the Taieri Gorge rail tour, but the weather was so wet and cloudy we abandoned the railway, and found there wasn’t really enough in Dunedin to make it worthy another day. It was a bit disappointing (maybe because its streets have the same names as streets in Edinburgh ), but it looks like the Cadbury World tour (which we did – it was a bit like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, even with our own Oompah Loompah in purple overalls!) and the Speights Brewery Tour (which we didn’t do) are the only real attractions. Certainly the Octagon, which bills itself as the centre of Dunedin, was very underwhelming. Overall I found Dunedin a bit disappointing and certainly not as appealing as Christchurch. I have a theory that the more insecure a town (or country) feels then the more it has to find “boasts” about non-interesting topics and Dunedin was certainly not shy in that department, with (amongst others) “the second most photographed building in the Southern Hemisphere”, “the longest train platform in New Zealand”, “the biggest collection of decorative pottery in New Zealand” and “the steepest residential street in the world” – the last seemed marginally more interesting, but not enough to get us to go there when we found it was in a suburb a fair distance from the city centre.

Our journeys in the van are proving interesting, as we have the voice of Homer Simpson guiding us on the Tom Tom. While he has his moments – “take a sharp left: just grip the wheel hard and yank it” - I’m not as sure that he knows his stuff as well as the guy we had before. Homer certainly has difficulty counting the number of exits on a roundabout and often sends us down roads that don’t exist, which has caused us to become very proficient at three point turns!

Yesterday’s blog obviously touched a nerve with one of our New Zealand correspondents, who enlightened us that the South Island was called “the mainland” because it was the real New Zealand, while the North Island was, in effect, simply an appendage – we’d be interested in the views of our other kiwi friends – especially any North Islanders!

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