Although it looked very calm when the ferry pulled out of the harbour at 8 AM, there were easily three to four foot swells as we crossed Foveaux Strait, but the fifty minute trip actually felt shorter than the same time taken for the opposite journey on March 5th. It’s a good thing they cover the storage bins with heavy rubber sheets or our luggage would have been soaked.
It would appear that sheep are thriving in the south end of the South Island, more so than cows, cattle or deer. The lamb export market is still safe! Speaking of lamb, we will be having a stuffed rolled roast of lamb this evening.
Instead of mountains we drove through large variegated green hills of pastureland from Bluff to Dunedin. There were a few towns marked along route 1, but none were thriving. In fact it was tough to find a place that had a cafe. In Motorua where we did get a very hot, but very weak cappuccino, the cafe was the only store that was open. More than half the stores were empty and available for lease or sale and the rest were closed on Saturdays. Apparently people do not work on the weekend. It looked as if a number of towns were one industry towns and the industry had either down-sized or pulled out…pulp and paper, fertilizer, dairy production.
We stopped for a picnic by Lake Waihola, but it was so windy that we huddled together in the shelter of eight foot tall New Zealand flax.
We visited downtown Dunedin where we walked about viewing the Victorian, Georgian and Greek architecture. The railway station is especially spectacular inside and out. The mosaics of trains and train related items covering the floor are superb. We are sorry that we will not have time for the train trip into the Taieri Gorge with the return trip by bicycle. That would have been fun.
We are comfortably installed in a three bedroom house high on a hill overlooking Dunedin and Ocean Beach where the white caps just keep rolling in. It is warmer here and we have shed a few layers of clothing. We are even thinking of switching from our hiking boots back to sandals.