Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dunedin and the Taieri Gorge

Thank you to everyone for all of the comments - we really enjoy hearing from everyone!!!

Well we had another morning of alarm issues, fortunately it was again too early and not too late. The skies were grey and very threatening, or so we thought. Today we were taking the train up to Taieri Gorge, and we could not be late. We had a quick bite and then it was off to the train, which happened to be right next to the ship. 
The carriages were circa 1920, but had been refurbished with more comfortable seats. We had a very pleasant trip up through Dunedin all the way up to Pukerangi with many stops along the way.  The scenery was magnificent and we went over many viaducts and through about 10 tunnels. The construction of the railway began in 1879 and way not totally completed until 1921. Most of the tunnels had to be dug by hand due to the type of rock and strata. The railway was a major transport system for produce and livestock through Central Otago. Today, logging is a major industry here. On the way up we saw thousands of trees planted by a consortium out of Hong Kong. We also passed hundreds of sheep as well as some thoroughbred horses and of course Cedric the Goat. 
Getting ready for tea.
Cedric the Goat
We had a mid-morning tea with shortbread on the way up and by this point the sun had burned off the clouds and it was a gorgeous sunny day. We hear that this is pretty typical of the weather here. 
"Hotel" on the route. 

After about 2 ½ hours we had reached the turning around point of our trip where we were served a light lunch on board. The trip back down took less time since we had fewer stops and of course it was all downhill. Before long we were back at the Dunedin train station for a brief stop before returning to the ship. 
Tile floor inside the train station. 
Interior of station.
We were a bit delayed getting back as someone had placed a shipping container directly across the tracks. We had to wait to get someone with a forklift to move it. By 3:30 we were back on board in time for Bingo and Trivia. Tonight we had reservations at Hot Rocks, which is a specialty restaurant where you cook your food on a very hot lava rock. We ran into our friends Monica, Andrew, and Richard and so we all decided to dine together. They “knew the ropes” so they had to teach us about how it all worked. The evening was perfect and since our days have gotten longer it was still daylight at almost 9:00 PM. We had our salad course and then our selected entrĂ©e came out on a lava rock where we cooked it until it was our preferred doneness. Mom and I both had the filet and a couple of prawns. 
We even had to have “bibs” so that you were splattered by the food cooking (they used the chains like they have at the dentist office). I’m not sure if it was the overall experience or the company that made dinner so much fun tonight. The food was excellent and I think we all laughed until we couldn’t take it anymore. After dinner we went to the “Name that Tune” game, but were a little late and they wouldn’t let us be an “official” team – man are they strict! It’s too bad because we answered 15 out of 16 correctly. Oh well, maybe next time. It was time to head back so I could get another dose of cold medication. This thing just won’t go away. We had a wonderful day in Dunedin and have now set sail for Stewart Island. At least tomorrow will not start quite so early.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Lara & Trudy, sounds like you are having a wonderful time. I have enjoyed following your trip. It has been great revisisiting my own trip as you travel along and seeing new places that we did not get to go. Hope you have an opportunity to view Milford Sound, it was absolutely beautiful.