New Zealand Day 7: Dunedin to Southland then to Queenstown

March 31, 2015

After a horrible sleep in Dunedin we quickly left the holiday park and went to look around town.  We discovered in the morning the noise we’d heard overnight was the beach just behind the park.  A quick drive around the block found us St Kilda Beach which looks back onto Dunedin.

St Kilda Beach Dunedin

St Kilda Beach Dunedin

After a quick look around the beach we headed into the Dunedin CBD to explore.

After realising there are a lot of old buildings we found a car park in the middle of town so Crystal could go have a look at some of the local shops while I took some snaps of the buildings around me.

Once we regrouped we found some food and made our way back onto Highway 1 and headed south again.

At this point we didn’t really have a set destination but I was aiming to go to Bluff, the very end of Highway 1 which I had spent so much time driving right from the North Island.

Just outside Dunedin in a little town called Waihola I stopped to fill up the tank in the hire car.  I was shocked when a woman come out of the store and started filling the car.

To many this might seem normal but in Australia this practice has been stopped years ago.  We had a great chat about the service and headed on our way.

After a bit of driving through farmland we arrived at a town called Balclutha which had a cool looking bridge over the Clutha River.  I stopped to take some photos.

I made the mistake here of following a tourist sign and getting off Highway 1.

There were some interesting things to see along the way but this drive took a lot longer than expected and by the time we reached Invercargill several hours later I was a bit over driving.

Along the way we stopped at a farm where we saw Ostriches in with Sheep and there was one spot with a great coastal view at the top of a cliff.

Most of the drive but was farmland, mountains, forest and more mountains and more farmland.

I was very relieved to finally reach Invercargill.  From here it was only a short drive south to Bluff.

Bluff is quite low on the New Zealand map and is the furthest south I have ever been geographically.

It is also the end of National Highway 1 which was exciting but a bit of a let down when you get there and there’s nothing to mark it just a small sign with a “1” on it.

Bluff has a lookout at the top of Motupohue Scenic Reserve and it was extremely windy and very cold but I endured it for the sake of some photos and a video.

And just for fun here’s the video.  You can tell how windy it was by the sound so be sure to turn it down a bit cause its LOUD.

Finally, heading towards the end of Highway 1 I was disappointed with the lack of a tribute.

After looking for some fresh Bluff Oysters for Crystal (which I had no luck with) she had fallen asleep and I decided it was time to head back to civilisation.

At Invercargill I stopped to refuel the car (and again got driveway service) and decided we’d head to Queenstown rather than spend anymore time exploring Southland.

The drive north on the Winton-Lorneville Highway (highway 6) towards Queenstown was quite magnificent.  First there’s farmland, then there’s awesome mountains around farmland, then there’s finally Lake Wakatipu which comes into view a short while before you arrive in Queenstown.

I was really tired by this point but I stopped to take a couple of photos.

At the last minute arriving in Queenstown we tried to book a nice hotel but there were no bookings available for our remaining days.  We ended up booking with Swiss-Belresort Coronet Peak Hotel just outside Queenstown in Arthurs Point.  We settled into the hotel and drove back into town for dinner.

With not much open we found a chinese restaurant that was crazily too expensive for tourists and after one small entree we headed around the corner to Fergburger.  This restaurant makes amazing burgers and is quite famous.  I had heard of it from friends long before going to New Zealand.  It’s open late, the burgers are huge and it has a great atmosphere.

I highly recommend the Codfather Burger

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

The room was 3 star but it felt like we’d gone back in time.  The bed had itchy wool blankets and the TV was an old CRT.

The place caters to people coming in groups or families by the looks of it, our room had 2 large beds and a single bed.

Tomorrow we will go and explore Queenstown and surrounds some more.

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