Otago Peninsula and on South
Trip Start Oct 17, 2007
64Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Catlins Gateway Motel
It's also home to many attractions of fairly high cost and dubious value. We partook of a few of these.
The first stop was at New Zealand's only 'castle'. They sell it as a castle, but it's kind of just a large house with crenellations. It was built by some rich eccentric sort a century or so ago, and now exists to take your money for the purpose of viewing it. To actually go *in* the castle costs $25/person. This seemed rather steep, so we popped for $10 each to wander the grounds. The views were nice, the gardens were nice enough, the castle was nice to look at...but I don't feel like I got $10 worth
But enough bitching about the castle; on to bitching about other things! But first: lunch. I won't bitch about lunch, as I rather liked it. There aren't many places to eat on the peninsula, so I was glad to find that the Portobello Cafe (as I think it's called) in the main settlement of Portobello gave a respectable showing. Nothing out of this world, but I had a good coffee and quiche, and Sheila had a nice veggie burger, all with good views over the harbour. (On a side note, we later dropped into the 'other' place in town called something like Cafe 409, trying to score some tea/coffee. The door was open and some people were eating at a table, but we stood around for a few minutes before a chef finally came out of the kitchen to talk to us. He was quite friendly, and he pointed us at a couple of women at a table outside saying they could help us out. One of said women, who had seen us standing there previously, gave us a cow-like sneer and managed to spit out, between drags on her cigarette, 'actually, we're closed'. Ah, well...I'll not let the door hit me on the way out, then.)
Next attraction after lunch: the yellow-eyed penguin reserve. Yellow-eyed penguins are endangered, and found only in New Zealand and some minor outlying islands
Our final wallet-draining stop was the aquarium in Portobello, which is affiliated with Otago University and is at a facility where, I gather, they do research work. This is another case of money going to a good purpose, I assume, but the $12 entry fee seemed a bit much for what was a single, smallish room with a modest number of tanks in it.
That was it for us for the Otago Peninsula and for Dunedin on the whole. In the afternoon we headed for the Catlins Coast, some 120 kilometers south of Dunedin. We're staying in the small town of Owaka for the next two nights, as a base for explorations of the coast. It's raining as I type this, but the waiter at the pub restaurant promised another beautiful day tomorrow, and he wouldn't lie to us, would he?