8.30pm Hogwartz Backpackers Dunedin
A warm welcome from Dunedin, city of the South. Its so warm in the lounge I’ve had to come out into the hall.
What a day! The cycling was extreme, i probably walked with Rex more today than any other. I’m not sure if this was totally down to gradients or perhaps abetted by not being mentally prepared for what we came up against. We’d resigned ourselves to getting wet and faced what we thought would be a much longer scenic coastal route but the physche was probably anticipating a shorter easier day. It started well when the first road sign indicated only 42km to Dunedin rather than 60 I’d thought but then the hill loomed large, it was more like three simultaneous hills as you seemed to reach the top level stretch only to get round the corner and the next hill begin. Instead of being cold and damp I became hot and wet with the effort. Forty five minutes of slugging it out and the summit finally arrived and down, down it went to Teieri Mouth, a small fishing village on an estuary. This would be a geogeous spot on a dry sunny day but today was not one of those so on I pedalled to Brighton hoping for a flat white pick me up at least. This did not materialise as all the Brighton of the southern hemisphere had was a dairy and decoratively painted bus stops. The road to Brighton compensated though,relatively flat it hugged the coast and there was finally a tailwind behind me. The beaches and ocean looked stunning even in the grey wet cloud. It still amazes me how little settled this area is. If this was the English Brighton there would be houses everywhere along this stretch, probably going back inland for miles. Thank goodness it is New Zealand! Having said that, New Zealand’s Brighton needs a cafe that opens!
Undeterred we manned up and faced the remaining 20km to Dunedin. The “scenic route” option took us up yet more uncyclable hills to the top of the city suburb of Middleton. Disappointingly the scenic route followed the SH1 bridge and cycles were not allowed. I’d phoned and text David on where to head for and we finally met at the isite (well across road at cafe where, you guessed it, I was enjoying my much delayed flat white).
I’d checked out the accommodation and it just had to be Hogwartz backpackers because of the name. I made a mental list of what I wanted to see here including the railway station (to check times and tickets to Middlemarch for Otago rail trail tomorrow as much as for the renowned architecture),the library, the NZ sport Hall of Fame, the Botanic Gardens, the University.
If there is a steeper street than View Street in Dunedin I’d be amazed. (Yes I know there is another steeper one here in Dunedin). We crawled up it on foot with our bikes to get to Hogwartz and had to laugh at the prospect of having to cycle up it!
Hogwartz is a nice cosy place, especially cosy as David and I are sharing a twin room. They even do your laundry, now that’s what I call magic!
David, my adopted son, and I look like we will finally be parting ways tomorrow. He is getting the intercity bus to Christchurch to possibly look for work for a few months and then travel, he’s not sure where to go and will let the winds take him wherever. He is going to write an article for the blog at some point!? Its been great sharing the trip with David, he’s a bright young man and finding his way, he’s quite thoughtful about the big issues and I’ve had a good dose of pleasant young company. And he eats as much as me! I’m still waiting for someone to tell me they employed him to make me feel good.
We spent a few hours in the library before finding the railway and bus stations. I bought a pair of Levi jeans… Wait for it…. 35 inch waist at a charity shop for 4 dollars as i was freezing in my shorts. It was then time to eat and boy were we hungry. Lots of choices here in Dunedin especially on George Street and we opted for an Indian place doing a Wednesday night special of 12 bucks a curry. Had popadoms, mixed starters as well as mains, rice and nan each. There was no need to wash the plates when we’d finished.
I’m now firming up my plans to do the Otago rail trail over the next few days then take roads to Twizel and Lake Tekapo taking on Burke’s and Lindis passes en route, I will then pick up a bus back to Nelson leaving me some slack to catch up with Lionel, maybe take interislander and bus or fly back to Auckland earlier from Welly. We’ll see.