Friday, 25 October 2013
25.10.2013 - 25.10.2013
Started today with a chilly vigil waiting for the sunrise, it happened eventually but wasn't all that spectacular. It also provided a view of a ship being loaded with logs of pine. Had a relatively early breakfast and then off to the Theatre for the start of our sole 'Shore Excursion' - a half-day scenic train trip through the Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi. It started in spectacular fashion with the train parked at the foot of the gangplank.
We left at 0830 and travelled from the port to Dunedin and through the suburbs. Soon the houses gave way to pine forests and through a number of tunnels and into the gorge. The track snakes back and forth following the Taieri river through cuttings, tunnels and across viaducts. Along the way we were provided with juices and soft-drinks served by charming seniors volunteers. A continual commentary and an excellent map kept us informed throughout. We had a brief stop at Hindon where some of the locals had set up a market stall selling mainly handmade items.
Back on the train and we reached our terminal station of Pukerangi where we again had an opportunity to dispose of NZ currency. Jenny managed to make a giant hole in my NZ$ reserves. At 1045 we were all aboard and heading back down the gorge. Shortly after that we were served a delightful simple lunch and sampled some of the local wines.
Back in Dunedin we left the train and boarded a coach for a trip to Larnach Castle where we arrive about 1430and spent an hour touring and exploring the castle and the extensive and spectacular grounds. Back aboard the coach we made our way back into Dunedin and spent over an hour being shown the highlights of Dunedin. Where possible the driver stopped for photo ops and provided a detailed commentary along the way. He returned us to the ship's side almost right on 1730 which was the 'All Aboard' time.
As the ship made ready to depart the Captain informed us that there was a further change to the itinerary, due to strong winds and large swells we were not heading South to round the bottom of New Zealand, instead we were heading back up the East Coast and back to Sydney. By way of compensation for these cancellations due to weather atop of the 'Technical Issues' which had ruled out the Bay of Islands we each received $200 On Board Credit. That's a $400,000 refund all up.
Stayed upon Deck 15 to see the Albatross Rookery as we cleared the breakwater and had hot dogs from the Grill for dinner. With some freshly fried chips we were both well satisfied. Jenny tried to spend some of that $400 windfall but failed to make a significant dent in it. Back to the cabin to sort through over 300 photos and write up the day's activities. Not attending the show tonight, too busy and too tired.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony