Alright, I have had some fun in Queenstown between the anti-gravity sports and walking in the scenic Queenstown Gardens. This place is great although it feels very much like a mountain park in Canada due to the huge tourist industry and the cold weather. It feels like Banff or Jasper would in September or October.
My trip to Dunedin is part of the "Bottom Bus" section of the Kiwi Experience Tour. Not many people want to get that close to Antarctica, but it gives me a chance to see penguins and albatrosses so I thought it would be fun. In addition, if things go my way I will cross Foveaux strait and go down to Stewart Island which has a population of about 500 people. There is a chance to view wild kiwi birds and even fewer people go down this far. Whether or not I go all the way down there will depend on the situation, I will play it by ear.
Anyways, I had to catch the Bottom Bus at 7:45 at one of the booking centers. I woke up, packed up and checked out and when I got to the booking center they hand me a fax. This is never good news. The fax said that due to "Weather Complications" I will be traveling on a different carrier down to Dunedin and then get a tour when I get there. Apparently, for this booking I am the only individual going to Dunedin and I will be meeting others in Dunedin. I was hoping to have a scenic drive and meet some people on the way down but it doesn't look so good right now. I guess we will see what comes of this, I will tell you about Dunedin and the rest of the deep south in a while.
Okay, so I got to Dunedin at about 2:00 and then met a driver from the Bottom Bus who gave me an individualized tour of Dunedin. The drive over was scenic but we didn't make any great stops. On the drive in I saw Carisbrook Rugby Stadium, "The House of Pain". We started with the train station which was an older building and the tiles and design were cool. We then went to Baldwin Street (the steepest street in the world). It is at about a 20 degree pitch and I just walked up and down the top section and trust me it is steep. After that we went to Signal Hill which gave a good overview of the city. After signal hill we had a drive around the University of Otago and then through the Octagon which is a big roundabout ("traffic circle"). I then checked into my hostel which has free internet (which is why I am updating this website so soon). I then went on a tour of Cadbury World - the giant NZ chocolate factory. They showed us how the chocolate was made and gave us some free chocolate and also discounts on chocolate. I could not take photos but it was a good tour. I could have done the Speight's Brewery but it seems that every town has a brewery so I may catch one elsewhere (also, my self-imposed alcohol abstinence is getting close to 1.5 years old and I don't quite feel ready to breach it).
Dunedin is a cool city with tons of old buildings (the city is about 125 years old) and I would have liked to stay longer. It would have been nice to go see the albatross nesting site on the peninsula and have a better look around. Unfortunately, I don't want to spend 3 nights here until the next bus comes so I will be leaving for Curio Bay tomorrow. There should be penguins and sea lions there so I finally get to see some wildlife.
The trip after Curio Bay is up in the air so keep watching to find out where I end up.