Unhooking the van after breakfast the next day we set off on what was to be some serious mileage with a few potential stops along the way. The weather was cool but good and set us up for a day behind the lens hoping to capture something of New Zealand’s beauty.
The whole day threw up vista after vista after vista pulling us over to the side of the road all the time to take a quick snap. We visited Lake Tekapo before rolling up to the Mount John observatory for views back down to the lake and all around. We briefly considered sticking around to stargaze but decided to keep moving, down past Twizel and further huge bodies of water with perfect reflections and seemingly autumnal flora to complement. It was a road-tripping day; we stopped for lunch but other than that just kept rolling between photo opportunities. As darkness fell we passed through Omarama and decided to we could handle missing out on their famous penguins (they’d thoughtlessly already gone to bed for the night) and kept on going until Hampden where we’d heard tell of a Fish & Chip shop worthy of our attention. It was, and we pushed on for the final few kilometres to Moeraki, home of the Moeraki boulders or as I’d taken to calling it “them Iraqi boulders”. It was pitch black, so the hunks of rock had to wait for morning, but a very accommodating van site sorted us with rare free wi-fi and a check-out when you like – we’re empty policy that made for a refreshing change.
A late start the next day afforded to us by our hosts was enjoyed before heading to see what the fuss was about on the beach. Big spherical rocks have been worn out of the cliff thanks to odd erosion and leave the beach looking like an untidy giants’ marble collection. Torn between “it’s a tourist attraction of some renown” and “it’s a pile of round rocks” we made our best efforts to take a few pictures before heading on down to Dunedin.
Dunedin could easily be a town in Scotland in terms of how it looks. They have a Cadbury’s factory and a Speight’s Brewery – after a bit of arm twisting we chose the brewery. We had just enough time to make it for the last tour so made our way over. It proved really good – our guide was a very passionate chap full of banter and an obvious love for the product. He proved a hero when at the end of the tour after introducing us to the taps of the different beers he wandered off and left us to it for half an hour.
Me? A man from old Blighty? Left to my own devices at the pumps of a brewery? With my reputation?!?
I tried each of the 5 beers several times and even had a taster of the cider. By the time we reluctantly left we were more than half cut and hit the gift shop (unheard of) to buy all manner of silly trinkets before linking up with a chap called Ken from Scotland and a lass called Lisa from Oz and taking a wander the nearest pub. A few more alehouses later we clocked off and found an unexpected surprise –A KEBAB SHOP! Kebabs acquired we returned to our city centre parked van and took advantage of the leniency of Dunedin council, sleeping right there thanks to their freedom camp wherever you like rule.