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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
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!