Along the Away

travel, dream, create, inspire, appreciate

While in Dunedin I stayed in a one bedroom apartment at Roslyn Apartments. The apartment was beautifully furnished and offered a nice, quiet, cosy retreat from the hustle and bustle of being on the road for almost a month.

It was a bit out of the city centre, but just across the road and up a little is a supermarket and a row of cafes and stores for any immediate needs/coffee, and being up on the hill offers a great view.

Dunedin City Tour

It only took me about 20 minutes to walk down hill from the apartment (maybe 25 minutes on the way back home). Surely it would be an inexpensive taxi ride, though I always walked because it was an enjoyable, pretty journey.

Dunedin City Tour

Dunedin City Tour

Although I often avoid them, sometimes the best way to explore a new city is on a sightseeing bus – you get to cover a lot of ground while someone tells you everything you need to know – plus a lot of interesting trivia.

I was in the iSITE Visitor Centre when I overheard a guy thanking one of the staff for recommending the Good Company Dunedin Tour he had gone on the day before on their recommendation – I intercepted him as he was walking out the door and asked him what else he’d enjoyed doing in Dunedin. Cue a 30 minute conversation chatting with a fellow traveller; he gave me heaps of tips for the South Island, and I gave him tips about the North Island where he was heading next.

I went back into the centre and booked on the afternoon tour, which gave me a couple of hours visiting some of the local stores before hoofing it back to the centre for the bus pick-up. We went in a mini-bus, myself and three older couples, Aussie and English.

Our friendly driver/tour guide launched straight into telling us all about Dunedin – which turns out started out as a southern hemisphere Edinburgh, designed by two Scottish Presbyterians who wanted to create a Presbyterian town free of the politics that plagued their homeland. Dunedin means Edinburgh in Scottish Gaelic; they intended to build the town with Edinburgh’s street layout but had to change it when they arrived and realised that mountainous New Zealand equals a hilly Dunedin, not quite as flat as Edinburgh. One of the more interesting things I learnt was that the  Knox Church was built at the top of the hill, and the Speight’s Brewery was built at the bottom – much to the annoyance of the Presbyterians whose blessed water ended up at the bottom to be used by the brewery!

Dunedin City Tour

Also very interesting is that the Otago girls school opened before the boys school in 1870! Quite progressive for its time.

We stopped for a ten minute walk through the University of Otago which was very pretty; definitely feeling the Scottish influences here – almost a little Hogwarts-esque may I dare say.

Dunedin City Tour

Dunedin City Tour

At the top of Signal Hill Lookout the views encompass the Otago Harbour and Otago Peninsula – so beautiful on a clear Winter’s day.

Dunedin City Tour

There are two large statues at the top, sitting almost Buddha-like, watching over the city. Our tour guide shared a local conspiracy that the statues were ordered to be made in London by the City, but in a cost-cutting measure, they took in two statues that were originally made for a temple in India – hence the robe-like clothing and prayer-like crossed legged poses! I have no idea how much merit that theory has, but regardless, the male figure represents History and faces West, holding a book with the years 1848-1948 engraved on it.

Dunedin City Tour

The female figue represents Future and gazes East, holding ‘the thread of life’ on her lap.

Dunedin City Tour

Along the harbour there are a row of teeth. Strange, yes. Officially know as the ‘Harbour Mouth Molars’ – the sculpures are six wisdom teeth.

Dunedin City Tour

We drove to the Otago Peninsula and stopped to enjoy the rolling green hills and brilliant blue water views. Iconic New Zealand!

Dunedin City Tour

Dunedin City Tour

After getting back downtown as the sun was setting, I walked home past St Pauls Cathedral.

Dunedin City Tour

On the advice of the traveller I met at the Visitor Centre I went to the Olveston Stately Home the next morning and did the house tour there. I’m a nerd and love period homes – probably because I also love period novels and film, so getting to visit a period home furnished is fun (because I can swan around pretending I’m Lizzie Bennet or Miss Fischer).

Dunedin City Tour

I couldn’t take photos inside, but it was an excellent tour – the house is indulgently decorated with many ‘mod-cons’ of the early 20th century as well as furnishings and artwork from across the globe. The tour guide and caretakers know alot about the Olveston family and history so the tour is full of interesting facts and information. Olveston was built for a Dunedin businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin, his wife Marie and their two children Edward and Dorothy, who travelled extensively prior to building the home in 1906. Unfortunately no further generations lived in the home as Dorothy was the last family member who died without heirs. She left the house to the City of Dunedin who at the time thought it was a bit of a drag and seen as only an expensive drain on tax payers money – until they looked inside and realised what valuable collections were there.

Dunedin City Tour

My next day in Dunedin was one of my favourites in New Zealand… stay tuned – we are nearing the end of my Kiwi tales but there are still a few adventures to share :-)

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A traveler, dreamer, designer and optimist sharing all of the above.

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