Dunedin, Christchurch, Kaikoura and Picton

From Queenstown we drove to Dunedin via Invercargill. This is not exactly on the way, but we had the time and the scenic route was supposed to be worth it. Invercargill itself is sprawling and kinda dull,  but every city in New Zealand that we’ve visited (apart from Wellington) has had that feel a little. Clearly the Kiwis take a French attitude to summer and just bugger off on holiday. Fair enough.

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From Invercargill we drove up the coast through the Catlins to Dunedin. They’re pretty, but slightly less impressive after the west coast. Dunedin itself is a big student town, and with the students away feels a touch quiet. It’s got a few decent museums though, and it was appropriate to spend Burns’ night in a city with  Burns statue.

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We then drove up to Christchurch, stopping in Oamaru, owner of the hotly – contested title of ‘Steampunk HQ of New Zealand’. There is a museum of creepy dolls, statues and, well, junk. It was pretty cool.

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Christchurch is still recovering from the earthquake it suffered in 2011 and many attractions are still closed. We did find the International Antarctic Museum out by the airport, which was very informative. It includes an ‘antarctic storm simulator’, which I think is relatively gentle compared to the real thing, and a 4d cinema experience, which enhances 3d cinema by shaking you up and down and spraying water in your face.

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The next day we drove up to Kaikoura for some whale watching. Sadly a storm blew through and the boats weren’t going out. We tried again the next morning, but the effects of the gales lingered and so we cut our losses. Up we drove to Picton and took the opportunity to check out their aquarium, as well as a stroll around town and out to a nearby bay.

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Finally it was time to take the ferry back across to the north island. We stayed at the same airbnb place again and I took the opportunity to pop out to the botanical gardens for more night photos.

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