Wandering the Streets and Sleepy Sea Lions (Day 101)
Many travellers prefer the wilderness, trekking up mountains, or cycling for miles. We are all different though. I am a townie, I love looking at the different architecture, people spotting, the variety of the fauna, both residential and wild. I enjoy wandering the streets and seeing faces in the most unusual places!
After a delicious breakfast chatting to two delightful and very chic elderly ladies we headed off to Dunedin along the bay. I have never seen a train line so close to the sea – even closer than when we were in Sri Lanka. Just on the edge of the city we saw a huge building with an impressive curved roof. It was Forsyth Barr Stadium which has an indoor Rugby pitch. It turns out it is also New Zealand's largest indoor events arena.
Dunedin felt familiar, I could easily live there, and then realised it was home from home. Victorian and Georgian buildings with a splattering of modern block houses. We went for a great walk, up past an imposing public boys’ school to a small park where there was a Giant Sequoia tree. When taking a photo of it, I noticed lots of faces in the bark – can you see them as well?
Up a steep hill, through an area of beech and birch trees, we walked passed a golf course, tennis courts and later boys playing cricket, The views overlooking Dunedin city centre and over the harbour to the sea were spectacular. A very pleasant walk.
Just before 4pm we found an Art Gallery within the Grand old Dunedin station. We were lucky that they let us look round well after closing time and met one of the artists *two in 2 days). He specialises in landscapes of the South Island and what a talent. His website is www.murrayayson.com. I have been thinking a lot about art on our travels and something that I’d love to take up (A few more lessons with my friend Charron when we return perhaps).
It was time for us to drive down to our campsite for the night. We arrived at Surat Bay and was shown our secluded spot for the night, within a spitting distance of the beach. It was still light so we had a magical walk along the long white sandy beach where we saw massive waves caused by the Catlins River and Pacific Ocean colliding, weird dark trees lining the shore, strange shaped seaweed ripped from the seabed and dumped onto the sand, and… are they logs? No.. enormous New Zealand sea lions which are one of the rarest seal species in the world and are only found in New Zealand! We saw 2 bulls having a later afternoon nap, occasionally yawning and stretching, and 2 lots of females with their cubs. Wonderful.
Back to the car, we realised that our pump to blow up the mattress has a house socket instead of a plug for the car. Good job the camp site has great amenities so we could use the electricity and have a comfortable night in the car….I hope!