Helloooo! How is everyone today? Good? Good. Today is Wednesday, but it’s actually like Thursday because tomorrow our classes are cancelled because of Anzac Day! This means that tonight we will be celebrating the only way I know how, with free pancakes and karaoke. And minimal school work.
Anyways, back to my spring break recap!
After our 3 days in Queenstown, we headed to Dunedin. Dunedin is a college town on the east coast of the South Island and it’s known for not only being a great city, but also one of places where you can see wild penguins! Needless to say, we were really excited about this stop.
On our first day in Dunedin, we took a tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory! The tour included a self guided tour through the chocolate museum, a short movie about the company and the factories history, a guided tour through the inside of the factory, access to the gift shop, and a 1 ton chocolate waterfall. Our tour started at noon, but we got there a little bit early (which was a new feeling for me) so we spent some time exploring the chocolate museum first.
Our tour guide was the cutest old lady and I wanted to bring her home with me. I love hearing old people with accents. When we met her, she immediately gave us a piece of candy, so that might have something to do with my love for her. It was so cool to see the actual machines that mix and make the chocolate, I felt like I was on an episode of “Unwrapped”. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside of the factory, but it reminded me of Willy Wonka. The factory in Dunedin makes mostly Jaffas, chocolate buttons (for baking) and giant hollow chocolate Easter eggs. We got samples of a bunch of different products, including liquid chocolate which was delicious. Shennel is crazy and doesn’t like chocolate??! So I had to take one for the team and eat hers for her. The things I do for friendship are incredible.
Once the tour ended, we got to go outside to
play on take pictures of the classic Cadbury cars. I’m calling them classic because that’s what our tour guide called them, but I had actually never heard of them before…
Another bonus to the factory tour was that all Easter candy was 50%. So basically this was my perfect day.
After our tour through
Heaven the Cadbury factory, we walked a few blocks to check out the Dunedin Railway Station. Fun fact, this is the 2nd most photographed building in Australasia (yes, that is a real word). The 1st is the Sydney Opera House, which I will be taking pictures of in exactly 37 days!!!!!!!
Once we had taken enough pictures, we headed back to the hostel to make dinner and relax for the rest of the night. We were thinking about taking a tour of Speight’s Brewery, which Dunedin is pretty famous for, but none of us are that crazy about beer and it was a little spendy. But since I have serious FOMO, I bought one bottle to drink with dinner. I figured I couldn’t go back to Palmy without tasting “The Pride of the South”. I actually really liked it (nothing compared to my boyfriend Jose, but I had to make due).
PS, there was also a kitty at the hostel!!!!!!!! Which we immediately fell in love with, even though she didn’t feel the same way.
Our second day in Dunedin was dedicated to finding wild seals, sea lions, and penguins. All of the wild life is located on the Peninsula, which is a 45 minute drive from the city center. Our cheapest option was renting a car, and I volunteered to drive. There are 2 problems with this scenario. Number 1, New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road and number 2, I don’t have the best driving record, even when I’m on the right side of the road. I think I almost peed myself when I first got behind the wheel. But after about 5 minutes (and a lot of honking), I was totally fine. I even managed to not hit anything/one or get any parking tickets, which is the closest I’ve ever come to seeing a miracle.
The peninsula was one of the prettiest places we saw our whole trip. The whole area was surrounded by mountains and there were beaches everywhere. There is only one road that leads into the peninsula, and on one side of you is a giant mountain and to the other side is the ocean (level with the road). This did not help with the driving anxiety.
We spotted seals at the very first lookout we went to! I realize you can’t see them in these pictures, but trust me on this one, they were there.
After that, we decided to check out Allan’s Beach, where we were told we might be able to see sea lions up close. In order to get to the beach, we had to climb over a fence and then hike through a field of grazing sheep. I am not even kidding. If someone asked me to sum up New Zealand in one sentence, that is the sentence I would use. I would also show them this picture.
Allan’s Beach ended up being incredible. It was a great day out, so we walked along the water and just sat on the sand for a while. I also took way too many pictures of the same things from different angles because apparently I think I am a super talented photographer.
We found the sea lions!! Apparently while I was in the bathroom, Eve and Shennel got too close to one of them while he was napping, and he charged at them. This was probably similar to what it looks like when someone (Brock) tries to wake me up early. So consider this a warning, sea lions are little bitches.
We ran into a small problem when we tried to find the penguins. Apparently, the only way you are guaranteed to see them is to pay for a special tour and viewing of them running on the beach. But girlfriend is broke and $25 is a lot to see something you can see in a zoo. Especially when that money could go towards more important things like a hostel in Australia, and Srumpy. So instead we decided to drive over to the other beach and hope that the penguins would be there. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any penguins 😦 But the view was still gorgeous and totally worth the drive.
We ended the day with some ice cream, an exciting game of marry, bang, kill, and watching Little Miss Sunshine while eating our leftover Cadbury chocolates (because I’m obviously really health conscious).
The next day we packed up and started our looong journey back to Palmerston North! It included a 5 hour bus trip to Christchurch, a walk through Christchurch at night to the city bus stop, another bus from the city to the airport, a night of sleeping on the airport floor, a 50 minute flight from Christchurch to Wellington, killing 5 hours exploring Wellington in the rain, and a 2 hour bus ride back to campus. I’m tired just thinking about it.
I never thought I would say it, but I was insanely happy to be back in Palmy, and to finally eat something other than peanut butter and granola bars. I think that just means I am starting to love and feel at home here. So if anyone has any suggestions about how to convince all of my family and friends to move to New Zealand with me forever, please email me.
I will leave you with these pictures of sheep, because they are cute and hopefully will make your day.