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.