A few months back, Jetstar had some epic flight sales, so six of us bought tickets to Dunedin for November. I’d been wanting to go for ages and couldn’t wait to explore with some awesome ladies.
Luckily, November rolled around pretty fast, and it was time to head south! The six of us left Wellington on a Friday morning and landed in Dunedin after about an hour in the air – not bad at all. Here’s Dunedin on a map of NZ for reference.
It’s the furthest south I’ve ever been, since it’s slightly lower down than Queenstown.
We hopped in our rental van and drove toward St Clair, the suburb where we’d booked a holiday home. After picking rooms (and getting my own thanks to my well-established sleep talking habit), we set out to explore the seaside.
Of course there was a classic Kiwi signpost. Everyone needs to know the distance to London and the public toilets.
That building the ladies are walking past was where we decided to stop for lunch. The pizzas were fabulous! I went for the seafood one.
Feeling the need for a little movement after a big meal, we explored the waterfront some more.
Em and I made a couple new friends.
The statue is of “Mum” the sea lion and one of her pups. According to the Otago Daily Times:
Mum was the first sea lion in 150 years to give birth on the mainland.
Before she arrived from the Auckland Islands and gave birth on the Taieri coast, New Zealand sea lions had bred only in the sub antarctic, having been driven away from the mainland by man.
”The remarkable thing about this is [it was] a self re-introduction. She chose to come to Dunedin,” New Zealand Sea Lion Trust chairman Steve Broni said.
Long live Mum! She’d be proud to hear the stories of sea lions who now call Dunedin home, like the one who took a dip in the heated saltwater pool by this very beach, going through two sets of sliding doors to get there and exiting through the same doors once he got bored. Check out the story for a good chuckle. Maybe it’s even one of Mum’s pups.
You can just see the pool in this one:
I don’t really blame the sea lion, as that ocean water must be pretty cold. The surfers seem to love it, though.
We were all happy to stay on dry land.
So was this cutie:
Yes, I’m a total dog creep. Mom, I dedicate this paparazzi Westie shot to you, in memory of sweet Barney.
While I was taking this next picture, a random guy shouted “get me in your picture, bro!” Hmm, nope.
St Clair was a beautiful spot to call home for the weekend!
Having walked off maybe half a slice of pizza, we made for Tunnel Beach, which we’d heard was incredible. I’m going to give it a post of its own, which it fully deserves, so I’ll skip ahead a bit.
That afternoon, we went into central Dunedin for a wander, and of course we had to visit the famous railway station.
It opened in 1906, which for NZ is pretty ancient.
Time for a group shot!
This next one cracks me up, since only some of us went with silly poses. Can you tell who?
I look like Peter Pan, about to take off.
Just as a passing shower rolled in, we dipped inside to see the station.
It’s easy to step back about a century here, or perhaps pretend the Hogwarts Express is about to pull up.
Emma and I spent some time looking at the art exhibit upstairs, with halls of paintings depicting Dunedin scenes and work by local artists. Some of the best art was the station itself, though.
I’ll leave you with this tidbit that I just learned about the name Dunedin. It comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh. I don’t blame the Scots for bringing a bit of home with them to this windswept outpost at the edge of the world, which I can only imagine felt a little like the isles at times.
I haven’t even finished covering our first day yet, so stay tuned for the incredibly epic Tunnel Beach!