We were in need of a shower (don't worry, I'm not saying each time we've had a shower, so we are pretty clean I promise!) so when we arrived in Dunedin this morning we found they had a local swimming baths and went there. Moana Pool is a big place with a large standard swimming pool, diving pools, baby pool, a fun pool and a spa pool. There was a school gala going on in the main pool - although we did wonder whether it was a national meet considering the size of New Zealand?! - so we swam in the fun pool, rode the waves when they machine turned on and zipped around the wave tunnel on floats. You wouldn't think we were 27 and 29! But then we relaxed in the spa pool, which is quite grown up I think!?!
After lunch, we met Mary at her hotel room and we were so jealous of the massive bed in there! It's definitely life's little luxuries that you miss when on the road! Mary had a free afternoon, but before we started our exploring of Dunedin together, we stopped off at the isite to book mine and Andrew's Milford Sound trip for a few days time - we tried to get on the same time as Andrew's mum but it was all booked out by their coach trip.
In Dunedin, there is an albatross colony out on the Otago Pennisula - I didn't know until we got there but I definitely wanted to try and see them. At the isite we were told that if its a windy day we might see them flying around from the car park at the albatross tourist centre, but if not there are tours where you have a better chance to get a glimpse I think.
A short drive out to the Pennisula, with lots of twists and turns in the road though, we got to the car park. Almost as soon as we got out of the car, this bird with enormous wings flew right around the tourist centre. We didn't even have the camera ready at this point so I was disappointed when we waited for a while and didn't see any more.
At the tourist centre they told us the last tour had gone, so we went back outside and waited longer. It was a windy day after all. We didn't have to stand too long before they came flying again, as many as three at once, swooping around the tourist centre. It was just awesome to see, they are so graceful, it really was spectacular. The pictures don't really do it justice but again I am hoping I can edit one or two when I get home.
We then drove up, down and around more windy roads to try and see some seals and sea lions again at Allen Beach. We had to jump over a couple of turnstiles and walk down to the beach to get to the right spot but we were either too early or too late because there wasn't any there It was a very pretty beach though and the drive was lovely too.
There were no DOC campsites in Dunedin so after dropping Mary off to get ready for the evening, we found a holiday park close by. It was freezing cold and so windy, being close to the sea, and getting ready for a nice dinner was difficult on two counts. One, the darkness and coldness in the van when getting changed and trying to put some mascara on to attempt a less dishevelled look. And two, the freezing cold outside when deciding what to wear when the choice is; sparkly flip flops (cold) or converse trainers (dirty), a button down vest (cold) or a tshirt (scruffy) and a 'north face' coat (not 'going out for dinner' wear) or a trespass fleece (not 'going out for dinner' wear plus scruffy). I decided on the sparkly flip flops and button down vest, plus the coat with a jumper and my butterfly sarong as a scarf for the journey to the restaurant because it was that cold. It's definitely impossible to pack everything you need for each occasion and weather type when you only have a backpack, but I think a black cardigan would have been really handy...I think I might do a post about what I should have taken once we return home.
Mary, Andrew and I went for dinner at a place called The Reef, which was recommended to us for good seafood. Andrew had steak and prawns, and Mary and I had the same dish - silver trumpeter and sole (because they didn't have two portions of trumpeter left, we shared) with a tomato and prawn bisque, roast potatoes, salad and crumbed calamari - which we ate with a bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir called Kopiko Bay. It was delicious! I don't know if it was just really good, or whether it was made tastier by the fact we hadn't eaten out in the evening for a while!
We had a great dinner, chatting and catching up, Andrew's mum is really enjoying her trip around New Zealand, which were really happy about. We walked back towards Mary's hotel and stopped on the way for a drink in a craft beer pub - Andrew's choice of course! It was a nice place though, right on The Octagon, and it was a nice end to a lovely evening.
What was less lovely was returning to the camper van. Despite us sleeping inside it completely, rather than with the tent attachment, and fully clothed in our now very familiar thermal wear, we were absolutely freezing...again!
Well, you can't have everything!