Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dunedin to Timaru (home sweet home)

'Twas the the earliest start of the whole week this morning with a great enthusiasm on the folks' part to be out of the tree house. There was a vintage book shop just around the corner which Nick wanted to see; although the sign outside said 'open', we had to wait a few minutes for the owner to get out of bed and get dressed. Vintage books seem to be very expensive.
Onward to Larnach's castle on the Otago Peninsula where the very friendly gate-keeper asked us where we're from and what we do. The answers of 'Timaru' and 'Baptist Pastor' led him to ask if perhaps we know his daughter - who turned out to be none other than Bethany Rentoul! We just couldn't believe the connection. The Castle and grounds were spectacular and the history interesting  if not rather sordid and sad. Mom started feeling faint about five minutes into the viewing so emergency scones and coffee in the Ballroom Cafe were necessary.
There was a strict ban on any indoor photography of the castle, but the Ballroom Cafe was without restriction - yay!
A climb up a seemingly-endless spiral of stairs (although Dad counted and said there were 29) in the turret brought you to a balcony overlooking the castle grounds.
Took the higher road over the ridge of the peninsula on the way to Dunedin city which afforded grand views over the bay and cit - Nick stopped a few times on the way so I didn't have to do ootw shots!
Got into town, found a parking and walked to the museum (which my iPhone map indicated was a 2-minute walk but that only applies if you can speed-walk...methinks I made a mistake somewhere as it turned into at least a 20-minute expedition). Ah well, the best way to see a city is on foot, right? The appearance of a live jazz musician in a corner of the museum was a bonus and the whispering domes were intriguing as always.
Made our way to the Octagon via Knox Church and McDonalds, peered in at St Paul's Cathedral which had all manner of plaques commemorating long-dead people...just no mention of Jesus Christ. 
Knox Church, above and below.
St Paul's Cathedral, above and below.
All glad to get into car (the third location we'd parked it because of max. 1-hour parking) but a 10 minute drive took us to Baldwin Street for more punishment. First bought a small bag of giant jaffas at the tourist shop at a giant price, then huffed and puffed to the top of the world's steepest street, as recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records.  Phew! 
Those jaffas were not for eating, but for rolling a-la the annual event in which some 30,000 jaffas are rolled down Baldwin Street.
And it had turned hot...drinks and muffins from New World were enjoyed in the car on the way to our final holiday stop, Moeraki Boulders. These huge boulders lie scattered on Koekohe Beach like long-forgotten bowling balls, ranging in size from half a metre to over two metres in diameter.
Pizza from our friendly Timaru Dominoes for tea...home at last after a fantastic week of seeing more of our amazing country. The route itself maps out as 1490 kms...that's not counting the in-between driving we did.  Well done to Nick for being the sole driver, and thanks to Andreas and Danielle for the loan of their bus!

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