Our morning in Dunedin was spent on the Taieri Gorge Railway, billed as ‘One of the world’s great train trips’.
The journey took us through the rugged mountain interior of central Otago. The scenery was stunning, the carriages old style and very comfortable with sliding windows, perfect for taking pictures through. At the end of each carriage was an open air viewing platform giving beautiful panoramic views of the surroundings. But it was a bit too chilly to spend the whole ride out there.
The train ride followed the Taieri river through the Taieri Gorge. We passed over the Wingatui viaduct, towering 50 meters above Mullocky Creek. Along the route 12 viaducts constructed between 1879 and 1891 hold sections of track. This includes the southern hemisphere’s largest wrought iron structure – the largest in the northern hemisphere is the Eiffel Tower.
There were many things to see along the route including a remote house with no phone signal, power or running water. The river, which in places is so remote most of the fish die of old age, plus train stations that were little more than wooden huts.
The journey was well worth it. The scenery was fantastic and it was a nice relaxed ride.
We got back to Dunedin ready to continue our road trip. We were now on route for Invercargill in search of the world’s fastest Indian (a motorbike).
That night we stopped at a camp site I read about in the Rough Guide. The site was on a point called Curio Bay and the edge of Porpoise Bay.
The camp site was a great find. Many of the pitches were surrounded by flux (a plant), giving the impression of privacy on a large campsite. The flux was there more to break the fierce winds and it needed it. Some of the sites had sea views but we opted for somewhere less windy.
Once we’d pitched up we went for a walk along the beach. Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay is famous for its Dolphins that come unusually close to shore. We didn’t spot any during our stay but we did watch a seal frolicking in the surf.
The seal flipped and turned both riding the waves and ducking under them. It was a spectacular sight. As we watched the rain started. Not wanting to get our only warm clothes wet we headed back to the dryness of the tent.
The next morning Andy was treated to an even closer encounter of the seal kind. I was taking a shower whilst Andy waited in the campsite car park next to the beach. As he sat there a seal strolled (if you can call it that) across the car park and made for the beach. Amazed Andy grabbed a camera and began snapping away and followed the seal as it made for the sand, getting some incredible pictures along the way. But a bark from the seal told him he’d had enough of the paparazzi and Andy decided it was time to leave him alone!lll
* Posted by j150vsc on 10/01/2009.