NZ 2012 – Day 3 – Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park to Dunedin

Apr 12, 12 at 8:52 pm

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Day 3
Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin

Google Maps Mt Cook National Park to Dunedin

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It was only 6am when I woke up. It was still dark outside. After cleaning and packing up my stuffs, I drew the curtain away in the room and..

*gasp!*

Wow! What a beautiful mountain!

It wasn’t Mount Cook but Mount Sefton is equally gorgeous. Ok maybe this is my first time seeing a snow-capped mountain.

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Mount Sefton

It appeared for about 15 minutes before disappearing into thick clouds again.

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
It ain’t Mount Cook but this one ain’t too bad either..

It was a long journey on this particular day so we wasted no time in getting everything done.

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Goodbye~!

We drove for an hour before stopping at Twizel for a quick gas refuel. The amazing thing about this is, we can refuel first before paying. I don’t think this can be implemented in our country ever. You get what I mean.

We managed to stop by a salmon farm on our way since it is located by the main road. We took the chance of feeding the salmon since we did not do it on the day before.

Salmon Farm
Salmon farm yo!

The weather was fantastic that day. Bright, blue skies followed by chilly weather. Perfect day.

On the way to Omarama

Passing by Omarama, we stopped for a quick break and did some souvenir shopping. And we continued moving towards south before stopping again at Lake Benmore for photo opportunity. It was so picturesque, everything looks like a dream.

Lake Benmore
Lake Benmore, gorgeous beyond words…

More photo opportunity came at the right time as we needed more breaks from the long journey. This time, it was Lake Aviemore. Seriously, why every single lake in NZ is soooo beautiful?

Lake Aviemore
At the dam overlooking Lake Aviemore

Moving towards the south, we finally hit Oamaru at about 1pm. We stopped at the nearest cafe and bought some fish and chips as takeaways.

Oamaru, the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand, is the main town in the Waitaki District. It is home to the world’s smallest penguins and can be seen at dusk at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. A collection historic Victorian architecture lines the streets of Oamaru.

Having our lunch at the park under the beautiful weather, we couldn’t ask for more. It’s just too bad we didn’t spend a night here as there are plenty of things to explore around the town especially the classic Victorian buildings and not forgetting the penguin watch. So, dear readers, remember to spend a night at Oamaru before heading to Dunedin.

Oamaru
Classic Oamaru

Oamaru
At the intersection of the road..

Since we were running tight on schedule, we had to cut short our visit. After getting all the compulsory photo-taking opportunities done, we hit the road again.

Oamaru
Nothing look more lovely than these classical buildings…

Oamaru
One more before we hit the road again…

One last stop before hitting our final destination of the day is Moeraki Boulders, located about 30 minutes drive from Oamaru.

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave cut Otago coast of New Zealand between Moeraki and Hampden. They occur scattered either as isolated or clusters of boulders within a stretch of beach where they have been protected in a scientific reserve. The erosion by wave action of mudstone, comprising local bedrock and landslides, frequently exposes embedded isolated boulders. These boulders are grey-colored septarian concretions, which have been exhumed from the mudstone enclosing them and concentrated on the beach by coastal erosion.

Moeraki Boulders
The weird boulders…

Moeraki Boulders
Look at the size of the boulders..

It was very windy as we strolled along the beach inspecting the giant pieces of fossil rocks. The shape and the size of each boulder amazed us. These things seriously looked out of place.

We couldn’t stand a second longer under the prevailing strong winds, so we bade goodbye to the amazing place and continued our journey to Dunedin.

It took more than an hour before we finally touched base with civilization again, Dunedin. It is the second largest city in South Island and is home to University of Otago, New Zealand’s first university.

After checking in at YHA Stafford Gables, we quickly cooked our dinner before heading out for a quick tour around the city.

YHA Stafford Gables
YHA Stafford Gables, the entrance and the dining hall..

YHA Stafford Gables
The kitchen and laundry area..

YHA Stafford Gables
Lovely fireplace and the entrance to the hostel

YHA Stafford Gables
Plenty of staircases..

It was eerie to walk around at night as most shops have closed and the streets looked quiet. However, we did stop at Dunedin Railway Station, the most photographed building in New Zealand and First Church before heading back for a good night’s sleep.

Dunedin Railway Station
Dunedin Railway Station.. too bad we did not return to capture more photos..

So remember, if you are planning a similar drive like mine, stop for a night at Oamaru. Join the crowd and hunt for blue penguins and the rare yellow-eyed penguins. And please do not forget to stop by Fleur’s Place (http://www.fleursplace.com/) for an award-winning meal. 🙂

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