On the 25th of March we both started to look for work in Dunedin. The plan was to base ourselves there and on long weekends we would be able to go back and do Steward Island and possibly even the Kepler track.
We went into town and signed up with agencies and registered online. I began to quickly realise there was not much of an IT industry in Dunedin. In the local paper that we checked one day there was more adds for shepherds than for IT staff which made me chuckle. Fem registered for temp work with several agencies and the few that I went to over the first two days also told me there was not much there. I began to get that sinking feeling that it was not going to work here.
I had a chat to Fem on the second day stating that I was unsure if I would be able to find work, and that we should stay in the tent until one of us got a job. I did not want us to be locked down in some accommodation or rental agreement with both of us out of work. I did a search for IT jobs in Christchurch and found the IT industry to be significantly larger there. Fem really wanted to stay in Dunedin so I said we’ll give it a week and see how we go.
Several days pass slowly and while looking every day, there was nothing for me or even Fem. A few days later we discuss our situation again and decided to try looking for work in Christchurch. This was a bit of a blow as it meant it was most likely we were giving up the Kepler track and Steward Island.
Before we left, we spent a few days sighting around the area. We covered Dunedin city, Dunedin outskirts and the Otago Peninsula
In the city of Dunedin itself there are a lot of old buildings and churches.
There is also the Cadbury chocolate factory so of course Fem and I went on a tour! We had to wear hair nets and because I had a goatee I had to wear one across my face as well. (See below) The tour was pretty good, with some interesting stories (i.e. they spend months creating all the chocolate that is eaten in 3 days over Easter) and we got a good bag of free chocolate but of course we could not take our cameras with us as they were afraid were spies from rival companies.
We also covered the Otago Markets, visited the Otago Settlers Museum which was very impressive.
The rest of the day we just walked around and saw all the major churches in the CBD. These included St Paul’s church and the First church. We both enjoy seeing the large cathedral style churches as the history, interiors and attention to detail are interesting to see.
The following day we started exploring just outside of Dunedin a bit more. The main thing was Baldwin St – the world’s steepest street which is just north east of the city. So naturally we drove there and had a look. Fem wanted to walk up to the top so after taking a deep breath off we went. Yes it was steep
After the street there was a good lookout nearby so we went up there for some good views of the city. A shame the day was so overcast.
By far the best day was when we went for a drive along the Otago Peninsula. This is the area east of Dunedin and it is spectacularly scenic.
On the way to the tip of the peninsula we drove midland over the mountain ranges. There were some great views from up there.
We wanted to go the Larnach Castle, but you had to pay a bit of money at the main gate before you could even get in. So we figured screw that we’ll just keep driving.
We walked down to a place called Sandfly Beach. I was a bit concerned that it might be too literally named. But it was so windy down there the flies never would have had a chance to land you if (if there were any) It was a nice little beach, made interesting by the steep sand cliffs you have to walk down to get there. I was dreading the way back up as it was bringing back memories of my time on Moreton Island. But the sand was not as soft as Moreton and I was able to get up there reasonable easily.
After we left the beach we moved further on to other lookouts and landmarks named the Chasm and Lover’s Leap. The clouds came in suddenly from nowhere and it became rather chilly. But it didn’t rain so we continued on.
We then moved across to the other side of the peninsula and had lunch at Portobello. In the afternoon we came to the tip of the peninsula and there is where the Albatross colony was. We had a look inside at the centre itself and that was pretty interesting. It’s amazing to see exactly how big these birds are! We wanted to go closer to the lighthouse, but again it was too costly and you were only there for a short amount of time. We did casually ask a elderly lady staff member about the costs when we were outside on the path. We were rudely told that “NO we were NOT allowed to go up the path as the last group for the day had already LEFT. Furthermore we were NOT allowed to join the last group for free“. She rattled onwards about all the things we were NOT allowed to do to a stunned Fem and myself. I was thinking “Jeez settle down you old hag, we are not 4 years old. Were you once a headmistress at a religious school back in 1910?” We were contemplating paying to see the albatrosses but then refused to out of spite to that evil witch. A more friendly person inside the visitor centre said there was a free public viewing area nearby which most people went to anyway.
So we went there and watched and waited for about a hour in gale force conditions for some albatrosses to come up nice and close for my zoom lens!
These are the best shots of about 200 I took in that short space of time!
These birds are incredible to see in the flesh. They are so big and just majestically glide through the air.
Afterwards we took the inner coastal road back to Dunedin content on a great day exploring the area.
On the 1st of April, we left Dunedin and headed for Christchurch. The next chapter of our adventure was about to begin!