Chapter 13 - Dunedin

1 Mar 2013

After an early night and with renewed energy we were taken on a tour of Dunedin with Maurie providing the commentary. We were glad we were in the coach as it is indeed very hilly - we stopped to view what purports to be the steepest residential street in the world (according to the Guiness Book of Records!). Not sure if that is true, but the hill really was very steep! It was possible to buy a certificate for a couple of dollars from the corner shop twenty yards away to say that you had walked or run up the hill and back again - all a complete fantasy as no-one in their right mind over the age of twenty five would dream of attempting it for fear of almost certain cardiac arrest!

We visited the amazing Dunedin Railway Station, ornate Edwardian fixtures, magnificent Royal Doulton mosaic tiled floors and intricate stained glass windows. Later back in the city, after visiting the splendid Cathedral, we found a nice Irish pub where the Michael & Mike had pints of Kilkenny Irish bitter and we all had bowls of a very nice fish chowder. Then we walked back to the station for our afternoon trip on the quaint Taieri Gorge Railway.

The train included heritage carriages dating back to the 1920s which featured opening sash windows, wooden trim and single and double seats. The carriages were pulled by a classic 1960s diesel electric locomotive. It made us all nostalgic for the 'Olden Days'! The trip took us from the city centre, up through the rugged Taieri Gorge with dramatic scenery that cannot be seen by road, up to the stop at Pukerangi deep into the beautiful inland region of Otago. The loco was then brought round to the other end of the train and we retraced our route on the single track back to Dunedin Station. All in all our trip lasted a very pleasant four hours. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.

We had an excellent meal at the hotel in the evening as outside it was trying to drizzle (there had been rain in Dunedin whilst we were on the train but it had stopped by the time we returned) and we didn't fancy going out to find a restaurant. That was the first and last 'real' rain we had seen in the entire four weeks - New Zealand desperately needs rain, everywhere is brown and bone dry and even the trees are beginning to look stressed. The farmers are spending huge amounts of money watering their grazing land in order to feed their cattle - many had irrigation sprayers that cost around GBP10,000 each and around ten of these are needed to water each field!

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