In an effort to beat the small-town blues, my friend Andrew and I took a trip to Dunedin. As luck would have it, he ended up winning a bidding war for a car in Dunedin, AND he had a friend there who was happy to have us stay with him*. It’s like it was supposed to happen.
Anyways, within minutes of being in Dunedin, I was buzzing. People! Young people! Black people! People walking while texting! Being in the grocery store nearly had me in tears. There was a selection of produce, guys. A SELECTION. After five weeks of being in a town of 5000 people, most of whom are between the agers of 50-98, I felt alive again. I mean, I like being in tiny Alexandra…but dear god it felt good to be out of it.
Any any rate, we spent the night at his friends’ friend’s place (he was cat sitting which pretty much secured the idea that this was fate because HELLO THERE WERE TWO CATS ALL OVER ME ALL NIGHT) and in the morning it was bright, sunny and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Time for a road trip around the Otago Peninsula! Andrew had been around last year, so we had a general idea of where we were setting off to, and the cafe owner where we had breakfast had a huge map on the wall and told us a bunch of tips. He even had a prepared ‘be your own tour guide’ sheet to give us! Hotdamn I love Kiwis.
So after a yummy bacon buttie (bacon sandwich that I added an egg to), we were on our way. Halfway up a hill, Andrew stopped the car and told me to grab my camera. We hiked down a muddy hill with an amazing view, through spiky plants that poked me through every piece of fabric I had and into this:
WWII bunkers! I don’t think they were ever used in the way they were intended, but now they’re great for urban exploring. There was a whack of graffiti on every available surface, and burnt-out tea lights someone left behind. The place gave me a bit of a creepy vibe, but I think that’s mostly because I’m used to aggressive drug addicts hiding in dark places, waiting to pop out and mug you. For the most part, we were alone.
After the bunkers, we pulled to the side of another road and found a beach with this guy on it.
I was reminded so much of my cat I nearly died.
We drove a wee way further and headed to Allan’s Beach. Despite the road being called “Allan’s Beach Road”, you wouldn’t know where to go if you had never been there. We parked in a dirt lot, hopped a fence (they had a small ladder* built for easy hopping) and headed through a sheep field to a small path that led to the ocean. It was gorgeous. Gorgeous. I can’t believe how often I am awed by this country.
I can’t post enough pictures on here that would come close to showing you the beauty! We spent time on the beach, drove up and down and up more hills, and ended up high above the beach we had just been on. After taking a trip through a very ‘enchanted forest’ looking bunch of trees, we ended up in a field on top of a cliff, with a track that was marked but hardly worn – I felt like we were some of only people in the world who’d been there! Running through the mud and sheep poo and slippery grass was worth it, though, because the views were astounding.
Honestly, there is no way the pictures could do it justice. It was absolutely phenomenal. We were the only souls around, save for a few hundred sheep, and we just stood and looked and “wow”ed forever. The trek back to the carpark was a bit tough, as it was uphill in the mud, but, again, the views were amazing.
We didn’t actually end up seeing the city of Dunedin at all; it was so beautiful outside that there’s no way I wanted to spend it away from the ocean! Not a cloud in the sky, and warm enough to be in a t-shirt…as much as I’m a city girl, you can’t drag me away from sunshine and saltwater. After a quick antipasto plate at a restaurant on the beach, we hit the road back home muddy, tired and feeling lucky.
Sidenote: on the way home we pulled over and turned the lights off to look up at the stars. We were the only people on the road…until we stopped. At which point a guy came roaring past us, stopped quickly, backed up and asked if we were okay. How nice! Kiwis are so frigging wonderful!
*This house, I sweartagod, would’ve been $1.2 million in Toronto. It had views of the city, the harbour, the ocean, all the furnishing were new and modern and beautiful…it was a total pimping house. That was probably in the neighbourhood of $550,000NZD. WHAT!? Are you kidding me?! Ugh. I need to move to New Zealand.
**I found out this is called a ‘stile’. Like turnstiles. It’s so farmers can get over fences.