Mt. Cook / Aoraki was really a beautiful area. We moved on with some melancholy and with wonderful weather we were able to have another look at the snow-covered New Zealand Alps.
We headed south-east, back to the Pacific coast to the city of Dunedin. The way to Dunedin leads past some beautiful beaches, one of which had strange, spherical natural rock formations. Anyway, they were worth some photos.
Dunedin is the second largest city of the South Island and is the capital of the Otago region. The name Dunedin means nothing else than the Gaelic form of Edingburgh – and that’s how the city looks like – quite Scottish. Dunedin was once the richest and most important city in New Zealand and the seat of the country’s first university. Today, about a quarter of its 120,000 inhabitants are still students. Accordingly, the flair of this place is very pleasant, the first time on my trip I get a feeling for at least a little bit of history.
This last building is Dunedin Station – according to people here, is the most photographed building in the southern hemisphere. The station is nice, but I cannot imagine that it is photographed more often than the Sydney Opera House, for example. But if they believe in it around here, then we’ll do them a favor and leave it at that.
Unfortunately it rained most of the time here – one more reason to go to one of the trendy little coffee houses.
Somewhat curious is Baldwin Street – according to the Guinness Book of Records it is considered the world’ steepest street with a gradient of 35%. Because normal asphalt would slip with this steepness, the street was covered with concrete slabs.
If you drive from Dunedin further along the coast towards the south, you will reach a region called “The Catlins”. It is a very rugged, thinly populated but picturesque coastal landscape in the extreme south-east of New Zealand. Scenically, this region is one of the most beautiful areas in New Zealand for me.
I also managed to get one of the rare yellow-eyed penguins in front of the camera here. I had to lie in wait for some time because they are very shy – but it was worth it. The size of the total population is now only estimated at about 4,500 animals.
Only about 1,200 people live in the entire Catlin region – so the clocks tick differently here. You hardly see any people crossing the path, time passes more slowly, even the water runs down the rivers more slowly…
Only sheep are regularly encountered – about 40 million sheep live in New Zealand – and a large proportion seem to romp about here in the south.
So we were all more surprised when a new coffee house was just opened in a small, almost deserted place. We obviously belonged to the first guests, the coffee was free and really excellent. The ambience seemed to be very coherent and radiated solidity. Service was written in capital letters – apparently one expected a rush of customers, as 3 ladies were ready in the restaurant for possible guests. The slogans on the blackboard fit exactly to this southern Kiwi humour.