Friday, April 26, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand/Final Chapter

For those of you that have followed us on this trip, this is Chapter XII, the last segment/blog about our 2000 New Zealand travel adventure.  Just in case you haven’t picked up on it, we loved this trip!  The scenic beauty, combined with a minimum number of very nice people, with plenty of available amenities, equaled a great travel experience…

This is a view of the interior of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin.  Yes…just in case you noticed all of those little white dots…those are sheep…lots of sheep!  The Otago Peninsula is one side of an extinct volcano, encompassing Otago Harbor.  One small part of the peninsula consists of part of Dunedin’s suburbs and there are a few small scenic settlements around the shore line.  Only 10,000 people live here…and most of them live close to the city, and much of the land is given up to pastoral beauty such as seen above…

This is a satellite view of Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula and Otago Harbor.  The city circles around the base of the harbor and the landside end of the peninsula.  The highest point on the peninsula is about 1,339 feet.  At one point along the shoreline, sand dunes reach up to about 330 feet high.  This striking peninsula is home to a fort, old homes, Larnach Castle and the Royal Albatross Center.  For more on what to see and do, go to

An architect named George Troup, aka ‘Gingerbread George’ designed the Dunedin Railway Station beginning in 1903, completing it in 1906.  The renaissance revival architecture was employed using dark basalt, light colored but dense Oamaru limestone, with pink granite columns and terra cotta shingles or tiles from France. 
The clock tower is roughly 121 feet tall.  The railway platform along the tracks stretches for 1,640 feet…or more than a quarter of a mile!  This is actually the 4th station serving Dunedin.

Believe it or not, these are the ticket windows in the ‘booking hall’ of the Depot.  Spectacular!  For those of you that are collectors, the frieze of Royal Doulton porcelain stretches entirely around the wall and balcony in this hall…   

This is the tile medallion decorating the center of the ticket or booking hall.  Almost 750,000 Minton tiles were used to cover and decorate this space.  Back in the days when Dunedin was ‘the happening place’ on the South Island, over 100 trains per day came through this depot. 
Today, only the Taieri Gorge Railroad’s daily passenger tourist trains arrive and depart from the Dunedin Depot.  I wish that we’d had the time to take this tour… For more on this spectacular train ride, including some great photos, go to

This is another spectacular building in Dunedin.  Believe it or not, it’s the old Dunedin Jail.  This Victorian courtyard prison was built in 1896 and it wasn’t decommissioned until June of 2009, after 115 years of operation.  Fund drives are under way to raise $2.6 million (NZ) to allow the Dunedin Charitable Trust to remodel and repurpose the interior of the structure.  Currently, guided tours are being given by prison trustees who’ve lived there as well as guard guides.  Cost is only $10.00!

This is a postcard view of our favorite city in all of the South Island.  This is Oamaru.  Perhaps it was the stunning architecture, the wide streets, the covered sidewalks, the laid back atmosphere, the nice people…or all of those things that caught our fancy. 
In this postcard, you can see what the downtown shopping district looked like back in 2000. (Remember…there weren’t any US style malls) Also visible is the old post office dating from 1883 with its 92 foot high clock tower, (added in 1903), St. Luke’s Anglican Church (1866) and, off in the center right, Columbia Presbyterian Church (1883).  

As you probably noticed from the postcard photo, many if not most of the buildings were built in the style shown above…and all of them were built from local Oamaru Limestone, a very dense and strong form of that type of stone. 
The building shown above is the Criterion Hotel and Bar.  It was built in 1877, later was a temperance hotel, closed, opened as a boarding house, then it was used as a warehouse with a confectionary and soft drinks shop… In 2012, it was purchased and renovated, reopening as a hotel and bar.  For information, just go to  Oamaru is a visual delight…

Laurie of course took this and almost all of the other photos from this trip.  I do believe that I know that tourist who’s walking down the covered sidewalk in downtown Oamaru!  This town especially…and to be honest…most of the South Island of New Zealand felt like we’d stepped back to a gentler, kinder place in time.
For more about Oamaru, its sights and attractions…plus photos, you can go to:

I actually took this photo!!  This is Laurie at the Christchurch airport with our loaded luggage cart after unpacking our rental car.  We put some miles on that car!   I know one thing for sure… In today’s world, taking that much luggage on a trip would cost hundreds of extra dollars! 
And…finally…here’s our plane coming in to pick us up.  From here we flew to Auckland where we changed planes and flew directly to Los Angeles and then to Chicago.  We loved Air New Zealand!  The people were very nice and they really acted like they cared about their passengers.  Of course, thanks to frequent flyer miles, it didn’t hurt that we were first class passengers to Auckland and we flew business class back to Los Angeles…
For information regarding flights and fares on Air New Zealand, you can link up at
Thanks for tagging along on this 12 chapter photo travelogue!  We had a great time on this trip and I hope that you found it interesting and informative.  I think that the photos spoke for themselves… Visit New Zealand!!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I've sure enjoyed your trip and would like to have gone, but I believe we'd just commited ourselves to see the USA via the RV.

  2. Hi dave, How do you do? I really like your blog, although this is the first time that I get here. If possible I would like to chat with you for a little bit. In the mean time, I invite you to visit

  3. Beautiful and a great trip, I'm sure! First class is the way to go! :-)