Thursday, May 5, 2011

Like a Kid in a Candy Shop

4/26/11     Dunedin -> Bluff
If you don’t already know (I’m not sure why you would) we are, as a group, terrible at planning things.  The ultimate result of that, at this stage in our trip, is no set plans on hostels, activities, food, or travel times.  Our general idea for the day today was to tour Cadbury World, their factory in Dunedin (Pronounced Duh-knee-din if you were wondering) or to tour the Speight’s Brewery.  After that we were to hit up the steepest street in the world, then drive to Invercargill/Bluff, find a hostel or campsite and hang out in town the rest of the day.
As general plans go it was a good one.  We did our tours, I went for the chocolate (obviously).
After that the chocolate group wandered the city for a while waiting for the beer group.  Once reunited, around 11:30, we drove across the city to find Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.  We found it.  It did help that we plugged it into the GPS, but whatever.  This street just looked unrealistic.  And, of course, us being us, we walked all the way to the top.  Once there, due to the grade, you couldn’t see the actual street, just the very end.  It was just insane, I can’t really think of a better word.

After that nonsense we headed back onto the open road.  We left Dunedin behind and drove towards the Catlins and ultimately Invercargill and Bluff.  We pulled over at a scenic stop to stretch our legs.  While stopped we took a quick 30 minute roundtrip jaunt into the woods to look at Matai and Horseshoe Falls.

We kept on driving, this time looking for a specific walking track.  The pamphlet I picked up led us to believe there would be seals, yellow-eyed penguins, and sea birds.  We found the track and followed it all the way to the end.  We found no such creatures.  We did spot a couple of Tui birds, but it just wasn’t the same.
After that disappointing hour long walk, we decided to go straight to Bluff since it was already 4pm.  Where did the time go?  We rolled into the small port town of Bluff right around 5:45.  No housing plans or anything.  We kept right on rolling through town and up Bluff Hill.  From the top we could see the entire city, much of the surrounding ocean, and even over to Stuart Island.  Add in the fact that it was sunset and the view was beautiful.
The weather was just a bit nippy, however, and we descended the hill and returned to civilization.  We stopped at the only backpackers in town (Bluff Lodge) to find out if there was room for us.  Unfortunately we sent in the chatty Kathy of the group, Kaleb.  We had to send in reinforcements in the form of Tony to find out the results.  We quickly found out there was only one other guest in the form of a French girl.  The owner, Lex, was really nice and so were his prices.
We proceeded to transfer our baggage inside, pay for the night, and then head out for dinner.  Bluff is known for their oysters and blue cod so we decided dinner out was a necessity.  We went a couple doors down to Anchorage, a restaurant.  It was a cozy little place with nice people and delicious food.  We lingered for a few hours before basically turning in for the night.  It was once again a cold night spent indoors.

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