[Oct 8-11, 2011] Dunedin was a cute town to stay in, but we had a schedule to keep, so the next morning we continued on, but before we left town checked out Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street. It might be something of a quietly-kept secret, as none of us were previously aware that Dunedin was home to the world-record setting steep street, but it didn't disappoint. We parked at the very bottom of (the flattest part) and watched tiny, ant-like tourists climbing up what looked like one of those Hot Wheels ramps for toy cars from the '80s. We all happily admitted we were far too lazy to try walking it ourselves, but got a taste of what was probably the world's second-steepest street, later on in Queenstown (but more on that later).
Our original road trip plan had us tracing the southern coast all the way around to Te Anau, a bit inland, taking in the Catlins and Invercargill along the way. But as we'd just spent the last three days almost entirely in the car, we decided to cut quickly across the island to Te Anau and allow for an extra day to relax in Queenstown, where Stephane and Jenny visited not long before and found to be lovely. Note to anyone planning a driving exploration of New Zealand: it may look like short drives on a map, but it's best to take it slowly and allow yourself the time to enjoy the sights outside of the car! That said, the daylight hours are long, even in October, and you can easily drive well into the evening and think it's still 4pm... we still carry a bit of that Aussie night-driving fear from our many 'roo-dodging' experiences years back.
|Allez Les Bleus!|
|An ecstatic win|
But onto more adventures! That next morning we hopped in the car and set off on Milford Road, where we wound between mountains, for the first hour, higher and higher until we reached patches of snow (which we couldn't resist a frolic in), and entered into the Homer Tunnel-- a 1.2km tunnel that veers seemingly endlessly through a mountain, on a downward slope, which was a strange feeling. The tunnel is an incredible feat of engineering and construction, started as a job-creation scheme during the Great Depression, it took nearly 20 years to dig, and only recently was widened to accommodate two lanes of vehicles.
|Glorious Milford Sound|
We spent the next few days doing silly tourist things in Queenstown: eating impossibly massive burgers at the legendary Fergburger, wandering around Lake Wakatipu, taking the Skyline gondola for views high above Queenstown (and having a blast riding the luge around the tracks on the peak), and playing a ridiculous but adorable mini-golf course made up of a miniature robotic town, sampling a good variety of local wines, and relaxing in our awesome two-storey townhouse (much nicer than any of the apartments any of us have lived in). It was good times for our last few days, before Stephane and Jenny left us to take in more live rugby on the North Island....
|Mmmm, Fergburger for breakfast.|
|Jenny putts for the win|