We arrived early on a warm and sunny morning into Port Chalmers with a gentle breeze blowing and all the makings of a perfect summer’s day. The port may be an industrial centre but is set amidst gently rolling wooded hillsides, complete with a very English looking church. For me, this is typical of New Zealand; nothing big, nothing flashy but very pretty and architecture which nods at modernity whilst still managing to hark back to a mixture of Art Deco and colonial majesty.
We were greeted on the quayside by the words, “Welcome to Paradise”, and I wonder how many of us would think that about our home towns, let alone say it. But here we were given one greeting after another as we were directed to a local shuttle bus which would take us to nearby Dunedin.
Dunedin, although small, is classed as a city, in fact it is New Zealand’s oldest city. In 1848 Scottish migrants established a settlement here giving it the Celtic name for Edinburgh: Dunedin. We were slightly amused to see Cadbury World – a large factory near the centre of town – hailed as one of the attractions. We didn’t partake, but happily wandered round the centre where many shops proclaimed a welcome to Noordam guests and crew. We caught an organ recital in the city’s Cathedral, put on especially for our ship, and enjoyed sharing “half a meter of pizza” and an ice cold beer for lunch, before wandering down to the railway station which is famed for its classic Victorian architecture.
It was a gentle kind of a day which will gear us up for tomorrow’s adventure to Christchurch, a city I have long been keen to visit and have missed on a previous trip to this part of the world.
Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities
Regrettably, whenever someone mentioned going to Dunedin, the theme from the Onedin Line became my earworm! Misspent youth, obviously. Too much television.
We were told it was the Edinburgh of the Southern Hemisphere but I didn’t see that. For me, a pleasant, Anglo-Scottish flavour, certainly, but not the Scottish capital city. Although, they do share the name, I understand.
What did I question or learn?
As we rounded the southern tip of South Island, we were further South than the southern tip of South Africa and took me further south than I’d ever been. We’re now travelling North but are still well ‘down’ from the Equator.
I also learned, from a former student, that ‘thongs’ in Australia/NZ can be worn in the street as they are what we call flip flops and, from a Facebook friend from round here, WD40 is called “start ya bastard!” apparently.
(The Scottish connection has just been emphasised by a pipe band playing ‘Flower of Scotland’ on the quayside, Ann tells me. Oh, dear, I missed it!)
The Shuttle Bus taking us to Dunedin from our berth in Port Chalmers was driven by a cross wearing Kiwi at some speed but he got us from A to B and back. On the bus was an unusual sign which emphasised the need for muscles in the event of an emergency!
Talking of muscles,… the national sport in New Zealand is Rugby (Union) with the magnificent All Blacks both all-conquering (almost always) and iconic across the world. They take it seriously! The attitude reminds me of a Bill Shankley quote who said, paraphrasing, “Football isn’t life or death, it’s more serious than that.”
As for the poster at our lunchtime hostelry called ‘Ratbags’… I don’t condone personal abuse and don’t, therefore, indicate that I agree with the sentiments. However, I thought their thoughts worth sharing.
Finally, we’re off out on the deck tonight looking for albatrosses. Magnificent creatures and hope to spot some.
Dunedin has been an interesting port of call for me since I first looked over the balcony this morning. So many massive stacks of logs being brought into the port on huge ‘double’ trucks, a process which lasted all day. The rather sad thing is that all this wood seemingly destined for the Far East, particularly China, to make pulp and paper.
The earlier settlers, however, took a very different view of wood and used for craftsmen to create plaques at the pew ends in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin. Each small plaque is different, dedicated to a former member of the congregation and quite beautiful.
What price progress?