World Wonders Cruise Diary – Day 30 – Dunedin, NZ

Cruise day 30 – Feb 3

Today we docked at Dunedin, completing our last port stop in New Zealand and the first month of our cruise.  During the first week as we crossed the Pacific Ocean it seemed like four months at sea would be forever, but now that we have a fourth of it completed time is flying by!

This was our second time in Dunedin, the first being almost exactly 14 years ago to the day and also on a cruise (Princess).  So we had a faint recollection of the large port container operation and the general layout of the area.  This is another large city, which we never prefer over places with tree-covered mountains anchoring an occasional small town here and there.

I can spend hours watching these guys zip around in controlled chaos

Mona Liza and I took separate excursions on this stop, because the optional one she wanted conflicted with the included tour I took.  This way we could both see interesting things and share with each other and our readers.

Dunedin City Tour –

Like most excursions at large city ports, mine was all about…guess what…the city.  This would have been an excellent tour for someone thinking about moving or going to school here, but that’s not me.  The driver/guide was knowledgeable and spouted tons of information, including where to spot albatross on the way out of the harbor, so I was looking forward to that.

LOOK OUT!  YOU’RE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!  Oh, sorry…

Otago Art Society

Being less populated than places like Auckland, this city of around 130,000 has managed to retain more of a laid back atmosphere.  It’s a vibrant college town with plenty of parks and nice areas to walk around.  Although parking is a mess like every other city we’ve visited recently, the traffic here isn’t as bad and they somehow make it work.  There are two large ports several miles apart, so perhaps that helps to spread out the density of folks scurrying around.

Moeraki Boulders –

(Written by Mona Liza) I’ve seen pictures of the Moeraki Boulders in photography books, so I immediately booked this reservation long ago.  It was an hour’s bus ride from Dunedin along scenic backroads:

Oh dear, it’s a deer farm!

Hillsides dotted with flocks of sheep

The ratio of sheep/people in New Zealand has declined from 22 to just 5.6 sheep for every human

I’ve seen concretions previously at White Pockets in Utah (very small ones called Moqui Marbles) and at the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  But I’ve never seen any as huge as these exposed ones right on the beach!  The scattered spherical concretions are called the Moeraki Boulders, originating in shoreline cliffs and exposed through erosion of those cliffs.

The area around this boulder will eventually erode away, leaving it to sit exposed or roll down onto the beach

There are only about 50 boulders left on the beach today, some were taken before it was illegal to do so

The biggest ones weigh 7 tons and measure over 7′ across

According to geologists, each boulder started life as a pebble or fossil on an ancient seafloor, and over millions of years new layers of mud and lime added to their size.  Eventually the seafloor was exposed and the softer soil around the boulders eroded away.  Cool!

It looks like a …?

Fellow cruiser and friend Marilyn hopped on one with me to strike a pose

As you can see, my excursion was much more interesting! We had so much fun that we got back late and made me missed the Galley Tour.

 

Back on the ship, what better way to celebrate being in New Zealand than with a dinner entree of roasted rack of lamb!

Tender and very delish!

As we sailed away our eyes and camera were trained on a hillside, gawking at a rookery of albatross.  Unfortunately, they were too darned far away and Mona Liza didn’t have her zoom lens with her – rookie mistake!

Those white specks are albatross

The lonely lighthouse bade us farewell

 



 

18 Comments »

  1. Those boulders on the beach are SO cool! And the landscape is beautiful, too. I’m so sorry you missed photographing the albatross. I know how disappointing it is…I missed getting photos of Swallow-tailed Kites circling overhead yesterday (they’re unusual here this time of year). Your dinner looked fabulous!

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  2. Thanks for the NZ tour! Looks like a great last stop. I remember seeing the Moerika Boulders in your tour book, ML. They looked really cool. Standing on the top really gives them perspective. I like the one with all the squares.

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  3. Those boulders are fascinating! I’m glad they’re now protected so the remainder don’t disappear. Love the lighthouse too. Such a lonely little building with a fabulous view! I can’t believe you guys are a quarter of the way through your trip either, but I’m so glad to hear that it has seemingly met or exceeded your expectations. Speaking of which, that lamb looks incredible!

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  4. I enjoyed Dunedin when we stayed there for a few days, but my favorite spots near the city was the Albatross Center. Hope to visit Larnach Castle next time we’re in town. We spent a morning at the Moeraki Boulders on our way from one place to another … fascinating. By the time we grabbed a bite to eat and returned for a second look at the boulders they were mostly underwater so it’s good that the timing worked for your visit.

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  5. Those boulders are so bizarre. To me, they look like the shells of enormous turtles. I’m so enjoying following along with you guys and I can’t wait to hear all about Australia!

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  6. Hello Steve and Mona Liza! We have been enjoying your travels and I thought it high time that I check in and say Hi! Len and I have been living in a sweet village in Michigan called Milford going on four years now. Wow! Time has flown! We sold our RV as it was too cumbersome to store and maintain, plus we are not yet retired so are limited on usage. No quick weekender trips in the winter anymore! Len and I have so enjoyed the cruise blog – it’s almost as if we are there with you. Thank you so much for contributing so much time and effort to the rest of us home bodies! Such beautiful photos, and your captions are entertaining and educational. Have a great time in Australia – can’t wait to vicariously be there with you both! (Virtual) hugs and kisses, Len and Carla Benkosky

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    • Hi Carla, great to hear from you. Four years! is that how long since we last saw both of you? What happened to your property in Tubac?
      It’s too bad we can’t visit you now in Michigan since we plan to buy a house in Arizona after our cruise.

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      • Hi! Our land in Tubac is officially for sale now. We would love to meet up with you in Michigan some time if you ever travel this way. Northern Michigan is always a beautiful visit. We have a guest room waiting for you if you are ever in our area. 🙂

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