After the Rail Trail: Finale in Dunedin
With less than a day before we had to return home (sigh) it was a case of ripping around just a few places in Dunedin. A tricky ask, since it was my first proper visit to the city. Fast and furious is often our style though, so we set off…
We stayed in the coastal suburb of St Clair and since it was already early evening, we made a beeline to the beach for a walk.
First priority the next day was a 40 or so minute drive along the northern edge of Otago Habour to Aramoana.
A small settlement with only a couple hundred or so permanent residents, this nevertheless is a very well known place in NZ – for a very sad reason.
Aramoana (‘pathway to the sea’) was established to aid navigation into Otago Harbour. Later a breakwater over 1km long was constructed to stop sand encroachment. Its isolated coastal position made it a candidate site for an aluminium smelter but fortunately this 1970s project did not get a green light.
Today the place has a natural beauty about it, though on this day it felt a bit desolate. The weather and absence of other people were mainly attributable and the resulting mood fitted the main idea of Aramoana that we were familiar with.
In 1990 a local man shot and killed 13 people and left three more wounded. The Aramoana massacre stands as NZ’s most deadly criminal shooting. May that record never be beaten.
Mike and I had seen the excellent movie depicting this event, Out of the Blue, and felt compelled to pay a brief visit on this trip.
By now refreshments were needed and duly procured at Careys Bay Hotel, in a quiet and historic bay not far from Port Chalmers.
We stopped for a walkabout at Port Chalmers, home to Port Otago.
Interesting facts: NZ’s first ever export shipment left from here in 1882, and Robert Falcon Scott stopped by here on his last fateful trip to Antarctica.
When it comes to heights I’m a wuss. You’ll not find bungy jumping or sky diving anywhere on my to do list. Nevertheless we were intrigued to go and find the world’s steepest residential street.
The photos are rubbish as I was not the most relaxed person in the world for this activity, the drizzly weather not helping matters. The photos also don’t give a true indication of the gradient, which at its maximum is 35% or 19 degrees.
Cue visions of little rental car losing traction… slipping out of control backwards down the hill… crashing… fireball…
But we made it.
We also took a drive out to Tairoa Head, as seen from Aramoana earlier in the day, though we didn’t have enough time to visit the Royal Albatross Centre. It is of great interest – as well as large birds, there’s also a fort to look through – so it will be a priority on our next trip.
The central city also received a quick visit from us, too quick for photos maybe as strangely it doesn’t look like I took any.
So there’s unfinished business in Dunedin, and plenty not yet discovered. Not sure when we’ll get back but we have to at some point.
And there we are – a great end to an excellent week.