A Wee Bit O' Scotland (Dunedin, New
I spent a
week in Dunedin waiting for the rain to stop so I could go out and explore the
area, but the rain never quit so I had to console myself by perusing through my Lonely
Planet guidebook, looking at the beautiful pictures of the Dunedin area, including
the Otago Peninsula. According to my guidebook, the peninsula is a
beautiful pastoral area just east of the city, about 20 miles long.
Speaking of rain, when I was a kid, this song was one of my favorites. These are
The Irish Rovers singing about The Unicorn.
RealPlayer. If problems, see
several days of waiting, I finally drove out to the peninsula, but I didn't see
much of anything but clouds and driving rain. I kept referring to the
pictures in my guidebook to see what it would've looked like if it was sunny --
yeah, O.K., it was pretty pathetic.
There's an albatross colony out on the Otago Peninsula, though, which was pretty interesting.
Albatrosses are seabirds that fly
thousands of miles each year during their migrations, and they nest only in a
few places around the world, including here in New Zealand. Albatrosses
are also HUGE -- imagine a seagull that's as big as a turkey and you'll get an
idea of what they look like. Seeing one of
these humongous birds for the first time, I finally understood the term, "Like an albatross around my neck."
And, for some odd reason, I started thinking of cranberry sauce and
into town several times during my week in Dunedin and strolled along George
Street, the main thoroughfare. Despite being soaked, Dunedin was really
hopping, this being the middle of the six-week summer holiday. I headed
down to the train station one afternoon to take the 4-hour scenic train ride
through the Taieri Gorge, something like the Durango-Silverton train ride in
Colorado, but the train was just about
full and I didn't think I'll have a very good time sitting cramped on a steamy
train in an aisle seat, so I decided instead to get some fish and chips from a
takeout, go back to my motel room, and turn on the T.V. and watch the New Zealand Black Caps cricket match that afternoon against
Australia. First, however, I wanted to visit Baldwin Street.
than the rain and the albatrosses, the thing I'll probably remember most about
Dunedin is Baldwin Street, which is reputedly the steepest street in the world.
Unfortunately, though, my photos on this page don't do it justice. When I first saw
Baldwin Street, my jaw dropped. I didn't have the nerve to try to drive my
Corolla up the street because I wasn't sure if it would make it -- or if the
brakes would work well enough on the way down -- so I hiked to
the top, during which I had to stop twice to catch my breath. Yep, I imagine the folks who deliver the
newspapers and mail here get big tips.
left: This is what Dunedin looked like
during the week that I was there. The rain gave me a chance, though, to
update my website and return e-mails.
center: The Railway Station, still
in use, is probably the most beautiful building in Dunedin.
right: This is inside the Railway Station. I was going to take a scenic
all-day rail trip from here, but the train was packed.
left: According to the Guinness Book of
World Records, Baldwin Street in Dunedin with a 35% slope is the steepest
street in the world.
center: Don't people here know how
to build houses?
right: Just foolin'. Actually, this is what the houses on
Baldwin Street look like. Cars have to get a running start before driving
up the street.
left: George Street, the main
thoroughfare in Dunedin.
right: Folks told me that this creek
at Otago University is normally just a trickle.
Travels (2001-02) >
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New Zealand and Cook Island Stories > A Wee Bit