Wednesday, 15 February 2012
New Zealand Day Twenty – Dunedin and Te Anau
The hotel we were switched to had a higher star rating than the one we should have been in. Rooms were very plush and there was even a casino on the ground floor but of course drinks prices reflected the extra luxury.
I woke up to grey skies and rain and the thought of a morning walking around Dunedin didn’t appeal. So after taking a look at the railway station which was a very well preserved example of Victorian age architecture, I climbed the hill to Speight’s brewery for a tour and beer tasting – a very good way to pass the morning especially as after the hour tour, there was the opportunity to taste as much of the beer as I wanted in the twenty minutes allocated. It was just a shame I had to rush off early to meet up with the coach so only had fifteen minutes drinking time.
From there we headed to Te Anau, passing through Clinton and stopping on the way at Gore. And yes they call the road between the two places the Presidential Highway. The weather improved as we got closer to Gore and it was lovely to walk through the town in sunshine, though there was only time to hurry to the supermarket to buy lunch for tomorrow.
On the drive between Gore and Te Anau we were treated to the story of our driver’s past life as a drummer in a rock band and some of the songs he’d written both for his group and others. His latest song is due out next week and we were given an exclusive preview. It was entertaining hearing his tales of playing with The Shadows, Deep Purple and others and completely unexpected.
On reaching Te Anau, I checked into the hotel room and then escaped to stretch my legs in a walk around the leg. It was good to finally have some exercise after travelling much of the afternoon. I never realised just how big New Zealand is and the distances from one place to another. When compared to Australia, the country doesn’t look that big but it’s deceptive.
The lake, like most of the lakes in New Zealand is beautifully clear and the mountains and pine forests create a dramatic backdrop. I walked for about forty five minutes but the lake is so big, I didn’t get far around it before it was time to turn back so I wouldn’t be late for dinner. It is a shame in a way that we don’t have more time here as it warrants more exploration but tomorrow we leave early for Milford Sound.