So, next up we had a day to get to Dunedin, which was only about 200 km. But, there were some things we had hoped to see before the day was over. This part of New Zealand is called the ‘Catlins’ and I personally thought it was the least interesting. I probably would not come back here if I could choose to revisit any part of NZ. We did go to the southernmost point of the South Island and we did see a place called Nugget Point, which was pretty cool, and we also stopped at another pretty cool water fall. This day we were all extremely unenthusiastic but were glad to have seen the places we did after we were done. Getting out of the car was actually a chore for most of us, haha! I learned on this trip that it’s important when planning a vacation to plan ‘nothing’ days where you can catch up and rest so you’re not exhausted when you get home. Vacation is supposed to be about rest and relaxation.
When we got to Dunedin we stayed with a friend that lived and worked down there. She lived in this little room that had a shared kitchen to a bunch of other rooms. It was pretty interesting. I’m not sure I’d ever want to live in anything like that now but it would be great for university students. We checked out the city during the next morning and then went to New Zealand’s only genuine castle. We had a tour and then had ‘high tea’ served to us like the british and the queen and such people have and how they used to do it in the olden days. We had little pastry snacks and 3 different types of tea to try. I liked Adrienne’s tea so much that I bought some to take home. It’s called Christmas Tea. We also found out about these ruins to the castle that were in the woods outside the gates. It’s not really advertised or anything but we ended searching for a while and finally found it. It was the ruins of the maids quarters back when people actually lived in the castle. It was probably my favourite part of the day. We also check out the steepest street in the whole world called Baldwin Street. It was a bit scary driving up it, but it was pretty cool. They have this thing that they do once a year here where they roll little candies down this street. It’s a race to see who’s candy makes it to the bottom first and then they win something somehow.
The next day we had to travel from Dunedin all the way to Hamner springs, but we were going to take the long way so we could see Lake Tekapo Which is a famous lake with a famous church which is next to another lake that’s this vibrant blue colour. In all this day had 700 km in it. We also stopped at the Moerake Boulders which are huge rocks that look like marbles. They formed naturally like that and were pretty cool. We spent the night in Hamner Springs.
Hamner Springs is basically a town built for tourists to come and enjoy the thermal pools that exist there. We paid to get in and spent the whole day in the nice steamy, naturally heated pools. It was very relaxing after being so tired. It was nice to just do nothing at all. We took a look around the town as well and had an interesting conversation with another american at the backpackers place we stayed at. It turned out he lived both in NZ and the USA going back and forth all year to manage a vineyard he owned. Fascinating.
The next day we drove to Nelson where we spent the second day of our trip. Almost home.
It was dark on the way there and I accidentally ran over a log going full speed. I honestly thought it was a large piece of cardboard, and then all of a sudden, thump thump! It was really scary, but thankfully it didn’t hurt the car. We got out and I thought my hubcap must have been lost when I ran it over, but Adrienne was like, ‘No, you’ve been missing that the whole time’. We laughed because I only just noticed it now and it had probably been gone for months…. haha!
When we were in Nelson, I was so tired that I just hung around town. I found the library and just vegged out. The other two went on a little boat tour of the Tasman Sea. I honestly had seen so much that I couldn’t care less about one more touristy thing. I knew the pictures they brought back would be good enough for me. My day was lovely and so was the girls.
We spent that night with another really nice family. They fed us and showed us some of their treasures like their rock collection.
The last day we drove to Picton where we would get on the ferry to go back home. Let me tell you this day was full of adventure. The short end of the story is that Adrienne accidentally broke my only car key off in the boot (trunk) while we were in line to get on the Ferry. All the other cars had to go around us and we were stuck. Some of the guys that worked there had to rush me to the hardware store where a new key was made. It was really a miracle because even the lady that did it thought it wasn’t going to work because the key was pretty bent up. But, it did and we rolled onto the Ferry with literally 30 seconds to spare because they weren’t going to wait for us. We were very thankful that it worked out ok. We got home that night at about 9 pm. It was Friday and we had school again on Monday. I’ll try to post a compilation of the videos we took on the trip in my next post.