Day 14 Friday 28 February – Te Anau, Dunedin

We got up this morning to an overcast day with light rain and it was quite cold!  It was still dark when we went to breakfast at 7.00am.

Leaving the Fiordland region, we travelled through the Southland countryside of rolling hills to Dunedin, stopping at Gore for morning tea, where it was a chilly 9°the coldest we have felt since we got here. Gore is Tamworth’s sister city and they host the Golden Guitar Awards here too.

As we drove along, we saw lots of sheep (many more than in the North Island), cattle and deer.

We continued our journey to Dunedin, New Zealand’s 5th largest city arriving at 12.00pm.  Dunedin lies on the central eastern coast of Otago, surrounding the head of the Otago Harbour.  The harbor and hills around Dunedin are the remnants of an extinct volcano.  The city suburbs extend out into the surrounding valleys and hills and onto the Otago Peninsula and along the shores of the Otago Harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Dunedin is home to the University of Otago, New Zealand’s first university.

We were taken for a city tour and then had an hour and a half break for lunch and a wander around before being taken to Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle, situated on the Otago Peninsula.  William Larnach came over from Australia and he and his wife Eliza and their children lived there for many years.  The main section of the castle that they lived in took three years to build, 1871-1874, and then they continued to build while they resided in it.  William built the castle as a legacy for his children and he built the Ballroom for his children with windows from First Bank of Otago, a souvenir from his previous employment.

We enjoyed our guided tour around the castle, learning about its history and interesting family stories.  Larnach’s third wife, Constance’s Boudoir is said to be haunted, but we didn’t see the ghost!  It started raining quite heavily while we were inside the castle but luckily the sun came out again just in time for us to climb the narrow stone spiral staircase to the parapet, where we had 360° views over the Otago harbour and peninsula.  We also went for a wander through the gardens before heading back down the hill and through the city to our lovely hotel.

Tonight, we had a special Scottish-themed evening – A Taste of New Zealand. Maria, Sandy and Ian (from Scotland) were the “volunteers” to be part of the evening.  They were taken off to a room to prepare for the Haggis Ceremony – they were dressed in aprons that looked like kilts and vests.  Maria and Ian wore a tartan tam o’shanter with red hair coming out the bottom of it, while Sandy wore a plain tam o’shanter.  A piper led us around the hallway to a room where the rest of the tour group was waiting.  We marched behind the piper, who played his bagpipes, with Ian brandishing a sword, Sandy carrying the Haggis on a tray and Maria bringing up the rear, carrying a tray of whiskey in glasses.

We had the Haggis ceremony, “Addressing the Haggis”, which including a toast with the whiskey.  There was much laughter and frivolity.  The piper played a few wee tunes and then we all marched behind him around to the restaurant for dinner, which was delicious.

What a great night we had – a lovely end to a day in the Scottish-themed city of Dunedin!!

One Response to “Day 14 Friday 28 February – Te Anau, Dunedin”

  1. Janet says:

    You guys even have similar tops on! 🙂

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