It seems like there are no straight roads in this part of the world, and the road from Queenstown to Dunedin was no exception. However, Pam had the good sense to book us into a small cabin at the campsite at the end of our drive that gave us a chance to drop our stuff and get into town for a bite to eat before sunset. The centre of Dunedin – the octagon – was a bowl surrounded by steep hills, scattered with fine examples of Scottish stonemasonry. We explored a few of the historic buildings before we settled into a little café for some blue cod and salad. In the morning we hit the road again for the long drive to Christchurch.
Pam has a high school friend in New Zealand that she has kept in touch with over the years and she and her husband were kind enough to put us up for a couple of days. I even got in a chess game with their son Jack, who I barely beat at chess before he clobbered me in Go. On New Year’s we met up with Shelley, a colleague from the school where I teach who happened to be in New Zealand for the holidays as well. The following day we drove out to the end of the Banks Peninsula to have a look around. Again the drive and the views were dramatic and scenic. We had the good fortune to pass a classic car show on the way out and stopped to have a look at the old MGs and Austin Healeys. There were even a couple of three-wheeled Morgans, a rare car that Dad owned after the war.
Pam’s friends gave us a lift to the airport in the morning, and we made the short hop to Auckland where we planned to spend a few days. We left most of our camping gear in the south, as it will be city touring from here on out and checked into a serviced apartment down by the quay. It is cheap and allows us to cook, which saves us money in a very expensive city. On our first day here we walked through some of the city’s many parks and checked out the Pacific Heritage Museum.
Yesterday we took a ferry out to Devonport for a view of the harbor and a walking tour of the old navy settlement. Today we got in a visit with Barbara-Anne, a cousin of Pam’s who is in Auckland on a working holiday. She knew a little place that did nice crepes for breakfast. It was nice to chat about family so far from home. While Pam did a little shopping for gifts for the grandkids, I got in another walk through Auckland’s fabulous parks and trees.
Aside from a nice meal and visit with Shelley, New Year’s seemed to have just slipped by us. We hope you had a nice one, and that this year is filled with joy and adventure for you.