New Zealand Nov 2004 trip – Walkathon disaster

This is part of some travelling notes I wrote exactly 4 years ago for a trip to New Zealand in November 2004. Please enjoy the story.

Day 3, 08 November 2004, Monday

Woke up bright and early. Well, early anyway at 5:00am. But still tired, then dozed off until 6:00am. Argh! Supposed to move out at 6:45am. Yadda, yadda, blah blah blah, got ready by 7:00am. Looked for university students but not much activity. Guess 7:00am in the morning’s still too early?

So I went looking for Lonely Planet recommended cafe: Percolater. Not open. Looked for Potpourri. Couldn’t find it. Wandered around aimlessly until my stomach decided to take charge, and moved my legs to McCafe of McDonald’s. Bought a strawberry and peach croissant and English breakfast tea (total NZ4.60).

The Octagon clock tower
The Octagon clock tower.

Dunedin field edge

Dunedin field edge statue

Dunedin field memorial information

Dunedin field
The field that later spelled my Dunedin walkathon disaster.

Speight's brewery
Speight’s brewery. See further down for some wacky quotes!

Church on steep slope
Church on steep slope. I’ll show the slope a few pics later…

View from top of slope
View from top of slope.

Steep slope construction worker
Construction worker working around the steep slope church.

Steep slope
Ahh… THE slope. Do I get thanks for climbing it? *huff huff*

Molten lava road
The road was covered in molten lava once.

Molten lava road information

Robert Burns statue
Wonder what’s the green bottle doing in his hand?

Fortune art theatre
The local art theatre, Fortune.

Walked around town some more, took pictures and returned to hotel by 10:00am. Check out time. Left my luggage at the hotel for storage as the transport for me to the coach station is at 12:45pm. So went walking some more.

Yesterday, I explored one half of Dunedin. Today, I’m gonna do the other half. Today’s half appears to be more residential in nature, with students living in some of the houses as well. But it also involved a lot of climbing. These homes are built on slopes.

I climbed up and down until my legs complained, then I walked to the southern end of Dunedin, and decided to walk around a huge field there (see pics above). Had two Snickers bars for lunch. I walked to the other side and found more interesting places. Now, it’s around 11:00am now. I should really be returning to the hotel. But nooooo, I chose to walk some more.

Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.

Well, I’m certainly gonna try. Some more shops here and I finally sort of reached the point of no return. Must go back to the hotel already. I didn’t really know how to take their public transport, so that leaves just the reliable but slow mode of transport provided by the lower appendages of the human body.

I walked past an automobile section of that part of town before returning to the field mentioned before. Amazingly, I even remembered seeing a car (Toyota, I think) being sold at NZ1000. It is now 12:15pm. Now it’s a race against time. The Amazing Race music should have been playing in my head, but I’m too worried about missing my hotel transfer to the coach station. Plus my legs were ready to give.

I finally reached the main central part of the town (The Octagon). But it’s worse now. People blocked me (it’s lunch time, remember?), undulating streets stressed my legs further and traffic lights defied me by turning red just when I reach them…

After much sweat and effort, with my legs practically stiff from the lactic acid build up, I reached the hotel at 12:48pm, 3 minutes after the appointed time, with the taxi driver waiting for me at the reception. Whew! The driver took me to the coach station, and it turns out that I was right when the hotel receptionist gave me their 12:45pm appointment. The coach LEAVES at 1:40pm, so I’m like 45 minutes early. So much for the rush. The coach was late as a matter of fact. *sigh* It arrived at the station at 2:00pm.

Here’s some random stuff I’ve seen in Dunedin:

An advertisement on the back of a bus:
“Fares so small you have to watch out for them when reversing”

Advertisements for Speight’s, a seemingly popular ale in New Zealand. It features a young man (YM) and an old veteran (OV), both in cowboy outfits.
YM: “Have you been abroad?”
OV: “Never much of a cross dresser.”

(Broad is a slang term for a woman)

YM: “Reckon this Asian cuisine lacks something.”
OV: “A fork, boy.”

Yeah, river!

Ice cream at Peggydale
Ice cream at Peggydale’s.

Blue vegetation at Peggydale
Peggydale and the blue vegetation I found around it.

Anyway, finally left Dunedin at 2:17pm, coach driven by Doug (I think). We stopped briefly at a place called Peggydale. Got a NZ2.50 orange juice.

Gore police station
Past through Gore so fast I only got this shot… There’s a huge statue of a trout that I missed. Gore’s famous for brown trout fishing and (if I remember correctly) the best country music in the southern hemisphere.

So we passed Milton, Balclutha, Gore, Riversdale and Lumsden. All the while I’m clicking happily on my camera. Well almost happily. Found out I have used about half of my available memory in just my third day of the trip. Must curb my camera trigger response…

Cloudy sky and sheep
Fantastic sky, gorgeous mountains, vibrant trees and uh more sheep.

Blurry foreground vegetation
Witness the power of a 90km/h coach!

Brown clumps of plant life

Lake Te Anau
Lake Te Anau. Gorgeous.

Lone boat on Lake Te Anau

We reached Te Anau (tee ah-nao) at about 7:00pm. Rushed to the lake to take 3 pictures and went looking for dinner. Breakfast was a croissant and lunch was two chocolate bars, so a bit hungry now. Previously, I was unable to get any of the Lonely Planet listed eateries, so I was excited when I found one. La Toscana, an Italian restaurant. Ordered a soup, pizza and raspberry milkshake (NZ7.00, NZ13.50 and NZ3.50 respectively).

My friend Shuli and her husband

I also met my junior college friend, Shuli! And her husband! Like she said, small place like Singapore, we never meet, come to New Zealand then we meet. She’s on her honeymoon. She and her husband just returned from kayaking in Milford Sound. That explained why she’s tanned.

Talked with her for some time, and then decided to leave before their dessert arrived. Didn’t want to intrude too much. Went back to hotel to plan what I want to do after the Milford Sound cruise tomorrow when I reach Queenstown. And I got a chapstick from George the pharmacist for NZ7.00.

New Zealand Nov 2004 trip – Dunedin

This is part of some travelling notes I wrote exactly 4 years ago for a trip to New Zealand in November 2004. Please enjoy the story.

Day 2, 07 November 2004, Sunday

I checked out of the hotel at 7:15am. A small van came to pick me up and 3 other passengers. One was a French young lady, named Mahena (or something like that. She said most people get it wrong.), who worked in Auckland and was here for a holiday. Didn’t get the other two people’s names. Van driver’s name’s Maurice.

Turns out I’m the only one getting off at the coach station. Then I realised nobody’s going to be with me permanently or even more than 1 day at a time. Driver’s gonna be different, companions gonna be different. This is just fine. I get to meet all sorts of people then. I didn’t think the tour company meant it literally when they said I’ll have different people travelling with me.

Reached the coach station, gave my next voucher to the lady behind the counter and got a boarding pass. Got on coach and the driver’s name is Eric. Nobody sat beside me, at least not for the first part of the journey.

We set off slightly late (15 minutes. These people really take punctuality seriously. I shudder at the wedding dinners in Singapore… I had one driver some days after this with a 5 minute delay. He kept apologising to us so much that I felt embarassed.). Really apologetic about it. I wowed at scenery for the first hour, but dozed through the better part of the second hour. Very tired.



Stopped at Timaru for 5 minutes. Then we set off again.


And cows!

Shallow river
And rivers!

Then we stopped at Oamaru.



Got some orange juice for lunch (NZ2.00). By this time, the coach had a few more passengers (there were 2 or 3 stops along the way where people got on board).

Dense hills

More hills

The two Koreans in front of me sort of got separated when an old lady took one of their seats. So one of the Koreans joined me, and that’s how I met Jung Tea Hee. There’s a language barrier, because his English’s bad, and my Korean’s practically non-existent. I managed to know he’s 26 years old, think he’s a student. He travelled with his friend for 2 months already, and spent the last 14 days in New Zealand. He’s heading for Queenstown.

Cargills Hotel

Around Cargills Hotel

Reached Dunedin (pronounced duh-nee-duhn, and not dee-oon-din, nor doo-nuh-din. Made a fool of myself before.), said farewell to Jung (ah-nay-oh) and waited for my transfer cab to the hotel (female driver’s name’s Red). Checked in at Cargills Hotel and then went looking for food. I haven’t had lunch yet, unless you count the orange juice I had in Oamaru.

Girls marching

Girls marching

Walked around, found some school girls doing marching performances on a field with their parents and teachers. There’s even some hip music used for some of the teams. Took some pictures of that, and then found McDonald’s (the staff ain’t too attentive, nor too helpful, nor too friendly. Either me, or my race. I hope it’s just me.).

University of Otago
The University of Otago is sprawled everywhere in the town.

Cadbury confectionery

Original plan was to see the Cadbury World and the university book shop. The chocolate factory offered one-hour tours every half hour from 9:00am till 3:30pm, at NZ14. Well I’m a bit late now, and frankly speaking, not keen on it anyway. It’ll be like Willy Wonka’s factory. Plus it’s one entire hour in there. I could do so much more outside.

Countdown convenience store

Got new batteries (NZ6.29) at a local 24/7 convenience store because the camera’s eating them up, and a bottle of water (NZ2.09) for my parched throat and lips. And I even got a coupon that the supermarket cashier (operator lane 5, says so on my receipt) gave (it’s for the Duracell batteries). So the total cost was NZ7.10. It’s now 5:10pm.

Dunedin railway station

Dunedin railway station information board

Some skaters I spotted
Some skaters I spotted behind the railway station.

Dunedin railway station garden

I explored some more, went back to hotel for a NZ26.00 chicken dinner. Will explore the other half of Dunedin tomorrow. And see how life is like on a Monday. Especially with the university students (University of Otago. The university is like scattered, with faculties all over the town.).
[Edit: On hindsight, there probably won’t be many students in November. Doh!]

Behind University of Otago

The weather isn’t as cold as in Christchurch, or as blustery. And eight. That’s the number of people I’ve seen walking around barefoot. 6 men, 1 women and a little girl.