Spending time not money…
There’s so much out here to spend money on, but also loads that’s free. All we had to do was look in the right places.
Day 156 – Wednesday 26th October 2016
We started today with quick drive along the Otago Peninsula to Royal Albatross Centre where we not only hoped to spot some Albatrosses, but maybe some Blue Penguins, Fur Seals or Sea Lions too. Unfortunately we only managed to find one Fur Seal and about a million Seagulls.
After that we visited Baldwin Street, which to a regular passer by looks just like any other, but is in fact the steepest street in the world:
From Dunedin we travelled to Oamaru, a little town that is usually passed without recognition, where our sense of curiosity landed us in one of the most fun situations ever. Our first stop, Friendly Bay Playground, gave us our first taste of the true quirky nature that this place possessed – we had a play on the armoured elephant fireman’s pole and zip line, the massive hamster wheel, the giant penny farthing swings and the pirate ship slide too. We actually had so much fun that neither of us stopped to take a photograph!
After spending far too much time acting like big kids in the playground we hurried along to Oamaru Harbour, where hundreds of Blue Penguins emerge from the water just after sunset every day and waddle to their nesting areas. Upon arrival, to our surprise and disappointment, we found an office where admission tickets could be purchased for either $28 (general) or $40 (premium), which we refused to pay. Then just as we started to walk away we happened to notice a small crowd gathering down the road, so decided to join them. Quite hilariously we ended up with exactly the same view of the shore as those who paid for tickets, just from a different direction:
We spent the night at Oamaru Harbour Tourist Park, where we got chatting to an Irish couple over dinner who asked if we fancied joining them for a visit to Steampunk Headquarters before leaving in the morning. We had no idea what Steampunk meant, so visiting the HQ was a bold move to make, but our new friends were both so enthusiastic about it that we couldn’t say no. We went to bed rather intrigued and just a tad nervous, but couldn’t wait to wake up get going!
Day 157 – Thursday 27th October 2016
I bet you’re still wondering what Steampunk means, right? Well, INFO. Our visit to Steampunk Headquarters was just as weird and wonderful as we expected. We played the Metalagactic Pipe Organ, spent a few minutes in The Portal – a futuristic mirror and lighting installation which made users feel like they were being put on fast forward to another dimension, and then fooled around in the yard where we found Chopper Holland, a giant motorbike:
The experience was somewhat surreal, so we took a stroll around the old and somewhat tatty Victorian neighbourhood after that, where nearly all of the buildings looked like they’d been neglected for years. To our surprise, every single one of them was open and fully functional, including a bakery, a book store, a library and an old art gallery.
We left Oamaru in the early afternoon and drove towards Akaroa, where on the way found Little River Campground, probably the most exciting place we’ve ever stayed. They had all of the usual facilities like powered sites, showers, a kitchen and free Wi-Fi, but also giant tree swings up in the bush which overlooked the Okuti Valley:
Not bad eh? We’ve probably been on more swings in the last couple of days than we have in the last year or so.
Oh and lastly, the family who we volunteered with back in Hunua left us an official review on the website that we found them through, so I thought I’d share it with you all – “Abbie & Dan you were a pleasure to have stay, thoughtful & willing to give anything a go. We appreciated your diligence & effort you put in and would welcome you back at anytime. Happy travels :)”
I’ve got to be honest, I’m pretty chuffed with that. We plan on volunteering again soon so hopefully having a good reference really helps!