Moeraki Boulders & Dunedin
Woke up at 8am, had the usual muesli and weetbix, and we left camp at 9am. We stopped to see the Moeraki Boulders on a beach – they’re basically just very spherical rocks strewn about in the sand, but still very cool to look at. People were standing on them and throwing up their arms in triumph as if they’d just discovered a new planet while I preferred to observe and take pictures.
We arrived in Dunedin around noon and stopped by the ‘world’s steepest street’, Baldwin Street, where we met the cyclists from the group who biked down it. Sally actually RAN up the street at lightning speed, then later on she ran ~10km in no more than a half hour. CRAZY!! I heard she’s a fitness instructor… she’s 37, sooooo thin, but super in shape. Crazy lady! Much respect though. I called home as we were waiting for the bikers and talked to all but Dad, and then called Mom at work later on.
We were in Dunedin from 1-4pm. I checked out the famous railroad station, then headed up the street to The Octagon, a big open area [shaped like an octagon] with shops and cafes. I browsed some, then oogled at St. Paul’s Cathedral which is BEAUTIFUL on the outside! Very gothic. The inside was nice too. I had the most AMAZING pancakes at the Vanilla Rocket Cafe [once I realized that, despite menus being on each table, you had to order at the counter], filled with fruit and covered in syrup and sugar. Delicious!
After that, I looked around for a flashlight since mine had died, and also picked up a Sukodu book for $2NZ. I have no idea how to play, but everyone here is doing it and it looks right up my alley [number puzzles!]. I ran into Kendra and Ellie on the street and ended up catching a tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory with them. It was actually pretty interesting, though they made us take off all jewelry and wear hair caps. They gave us free candy bars though! The factory smelled SO GOOD, like chocolate cake baking in the oven… mmm. We learned all about how they break down cocoa beans and make the various chocolates. Unfortunately we finished right before we had to catch the bus, so we didn’t have time to buy chocolate.
We camped the night at Kaka Point, the bottom of the South Island. Thai curry was for dinner, good stuff. Then we discussed the big hikes coming up and I finally decided to back out of the Routeburn Track. It’s not worth $92NZ for me to agonize for 3 days climbing up another mountain, freezing in huts overnight, carrying a ton of food etc the whole way. I know I could do it, and would feel great afterwards and while seeing the views, but I just don’t want to do it! I’ll let someone else get to enjoy it since I already did the Tongariro Crossing.