Sean Mc on Skynet

Dunedin to Bluff and back

From Dunedin to Invercargill there's 2 options, there's the main road and the scenic route. Being tourists we had to opt for the scenic route, it's certainly very scenic but it's also a good adventure. We had already decided that we wanted to visit slope point (the most southerly point in the South Island of NZ) but we didn't really realise how much dirt road we'd have to drive on to get there. There's not really much to see there apart from a sign telling you how far you are from the equator and from the South pole, still though it's worth going just to say you were there. Driving the scenic route between Dunedin and Invercargill takes you along the coast in an area known as the Catlins. It's yet another NZ region renowned for it's scenic beauty and yes it does live up to it's reputation. One of the more interesting places we stopped at along the way was nugget point. It's basically a rocky outcrop with a now automated lighthouse out at the end. But the point gets it's name from the rocks which stick out from the sea which are said to resemble nuggets of gold, I didn't know that gold nuggets had any particular shape!

We continued on our way south determined to get to the very south of New Zealand this evening. We did get there but it involved navigating a lot of unsealed roads, it felt like everytime we went on an unsealed road we still had another one to travel on. For the record Slope Point is the most southerly point in New Zealand and is 5140km from the equator and 4803km from the South Pole. After a tiring day's driving we stayed at a nearby campsite.

We moved on to Invercargill the next day, we'd had enough of driving on unsealed roads the previous day so we made a beeline for the nearest sealed road, approx 15km away.

We arrived in Invercargill and it was very quiet and sleepy, almost had tumbleweed blowing through the streets. The place was also cold and windy so there was little incentive to stay. In good Irish fashion we went for tea before making a decision. Our decision was not to hang around Invercargill for the night but first we were going to go to Bluff, the Southern end of State Highway1, and we were going to have a look at the recently opened indoor velodrome. We went to Bluff, there wasn't really much to see but we took a few pictures anyway. Afterwards we trundeled back to Invercargill and off to the velodrom. I'd never seen an indoor cycling track before and I certainly thought it was an impressive sight. I never knew that the banked corners were so steep or so high. I definitely wouldn't like to take a fall from the top of a banked turn. We eventually left Invercargill that night and weren't too sure how far we'd get.

We drove as far as Gore and decided we'd stop there for the night as it'd been quite a long day, even though we hadn't gotten up to much. To feel better we went for a run, it was only a little over 30minutes but at least we'd done something for the day.

We'd previously been told that Gore was the type of town that everyone in New Zealand makes jokes about. Knowing this we didn't expect there to be much around the town but we went to the iSite anyway. Attached to the iSite was a museum about the prohibition era in the region. It was one of the more interesting museums I'd visited in a while and we ended up spending several hours there. It was a extremely well put together and informative display with lots of artefacts from the era.

On leaving Gore we made our way back to Dunedin. We stayed in Dunedin Holiday park just across the road from Kerry's house. We stayed there as Kerry was studying for some exams so we weren't going to be too much of a distraction. As a campsite it was clean and tidy but I wouldn't stay there again nor would I recommend it to anyone else. The kitchens, TV room and lounge rooms all closed at 10pm, it's one thing if the place is quiet but it was jam packed with holiday makers of all nationalities. So after 10pm we had little to do but sit in the van, if it was a warm night it would've been ok to sit outside but it was a little cold and windy.

We didn't hang around for long the following day, shortly after we were up we left the park and went into town for a look around at the few remaining sights in Dunedin that we hadn't yet seen. They included Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. We didn't try to drive up it in our van, instead opting to walk up it and take a few pictures.

posted by SeanMc @ 4:49 AM,


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