Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Cruise Day 8: Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand: "More Scottish than Scotland," Part 1 - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Upon setting foot in New Zealand for the first time*, we went through customs in Port Chalmers (where our ship docked). To get to the Port Chalmers building, we had to walk past the working port. We love looking at the transports that pick up containers and move them around the yard. They remind us of Star Wars.

*In Fiordland National Park, we saw New Zealand only from the cruise ship. 

Port Chalmers - These transports move
the huge containers around the yard.
[Photo by Bob Alton.]

Norwegian Spirit in the foreground; Regent's Seven
Seas Explorer pulling out from Port Chalmers.

We each paid $20 round-trip for the 13 km shuttle into downtown. We heard the quote in today's title from our bus driver as we made our way into the heart of Dunedin (locally pronounced duh-NEED-un), New Zealand. The nickname is "Kiwi City." This is the second-largest city on the South Island.

A quick history of Otapi/Dunedin: 

Maori settled around the harbour first: Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, and Kai Tahu.

European settlers came - whalers and sealers, followed in 1848 by Scottish Free Church pilgrims seeking freedom. They imagined a city and called it Dunedin. 

This "Edinburgh of the South" (Dùn Èideann [Mount Odin] - Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh) is fiercely proud of its Scottish roots. It is one of the Southern Hemisphere's best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities with stately homes, museums, and iconic stone architecture. 

The Otago Gold Rush of the 1860s brought wealth and laid the foundations for Dunedin's rich heritage. Schools and amenities were built. Gold attracted other people including the Chinese in 1865 to rework the Central Otago goldfields. There were also strong Jewish and Lebanese communities.

Port Chalmers, South Island, New Zealand.

There was plenty to do in Port Chalmers, but we planned our day to walk around Dunedin.
Ideas for things to do in Port Chalmers, 
South Island, New Zealand.

Driving along Otago Harbour into Dunedin, we viewed the Otago Peninsula across the water. Known as the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand, colonies of Northern Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguins (the world's smallest), rare Yellow-eyed Penguins, and New Zealand Fur Seals call this place home. We did not go on tours to see these critters; instead, we explored Dunedin on foot.

Otago Peninsula sheep farm.

Otago Peninsula beach.

The Octagon, an eight-sided plaza in Dunedin's city center, borders important buildings including Dunedin Town Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Regent Theatre, and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. This was our shuttle drop-off and pick-up point.

OMG, so much to see! Had to make immediate photo stops before we did anything else. Dunedin is a canvas for world-class street art. You will see multiple photos of that art in my blog.

Kell Sunshine's street art, Dunedin Town Hall
at the Octagon (on construction fencing).

The sculpture below was installed at the Octagon in November 2021. It depicts a doorway to different dimensions. "Ko te Tuhono," by Ayesha Green is a cast iron replica of the doorway into Otaku's wharenui Tamatea.  

"It is a passage to our landscape, our life, our wairua we share with the harbour," Ms. Green has said. "When you move through Ko te Tuhono, you are inside and outside, you are coming and going. As a monument to our tipuna and our tamariki, Ko te Tuhono transcends time and space."

"Ko te Tuhono," by Ayesha Green.

Below is part of the art collaboration for FIFA Women's World Cup in Dunedin, New Zealand. Iona Winter wrote the poem "Intuit" which graces the top of the street art in the photo below. Artwork is by Devon Smith, Dreamgirls Art Collective, Aroha Novak, and Kell Sunshine. 

"Intuit," by Iona Winter, January 23, 2017

listen to quiet in the rustle of the leaves
and ferocious applause from the seventh wave
see beauty in harakeke** choked by convolvulus***
and respect the latticework of a bruise
smell the sweetness of rotten fruit beneath trees
and ti kouka flowers at night
taste the depth of freshly turned earth
and the honesty of blood
feel satisfaction at the release of a scab
and the delicious surges contained in a kiss
sense comfort in ancestral knowledge
and trust in oneself always

**harakeke = flax. ***convolvulus = morning glory or bindweed.

"Intuit" poem by Iona Winter; artwork by 
Kell Sunshine, Devon Smith, Dreamgirls
Art Collective, and Aroha Novak.

St. Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin,
New Zealand

Dunedin Town Hall, South Island, New Zealand

Dunedin is a UNESCO-designated City of Literature. It's a city where writers, books, and literature thrive. In the center of the Octagon, you can start your literary journey on the Writers Walk. Robert Burns's sculpture is here and you can read multiple authors' quotes about Dunedin inset into the brickwork of the plaza.

Robert Burns sculpture at the Octagon
Writer's Walk. (St. Paul's Cathedral is
in the background.)

Close-up of the FIFA Women's World Cup 
art at the Town Hall.

Kiwi street art of yellow-eyed
penguins at the Octagon Plaza.

The Dunedin Info and Visitor Center was our first stop. The friendly staff got to us when they could; they were inundated with visitors. When it was our turn, we explained that we wanted to do a 10km walking tour of Dunedin to see what was best about their city. They had some printed walking brochures that weren't what we hoped for. Our helper asked what we liked (farmer's markets, architecture, murals, history, museums, sculptures, gardens) and circled those items on a map. It ended up being a great help! We didn't do everything, but we tried. 

Our map to guide us.

Map in hand, our exploration began. We walked down Stuart St. to the world-famous Dunedin Railway Station. This 1906 Renaissance Revivalist building designed by George Troup is the most photographed in New Zealand. Dunedin Railways' train trips still depart from here. A small museum is in the station, but it was closed on Saturday morning.

Dunedin Railway Station, South Island, New Zealand.

Italian mosaic floors in the 
historic train station.

Beautiful stained glass, wallpaper, and tile
inside the station waiting area.

Even the stairs are a work of art!

When we finished inside the station, we went outside where it was raining. Yay, me, I brought my umbrella. I loved the African Daisy Pink Fizz Miz in front of the train station. 

African Daisy Pink Fizz Miz
(Osteospermum ecklonis).

White larkspur (Delphinium).

Statues on top of the train 
station clock tower.

After exploring the railway station, we walked around the grounds and then to the station parking lot for the Saturday Morning Farmer's Market. They had two stands that I wanted to shop at, both were bakeries. However, the lines were long and we had a list of places to go. I REALLY should have indulged in a bakery treat. [Note from the end of the day: We walked 7.5 miles and did not eat anywhere. A missed opportunity in a foreign country! We did have one bottle of water each. I was hangry, tired, and thirsty in the afternoon!!] 

More beautiful buildings using rock or brick architecture were on the way to our next destination, the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. It rained again and got quite heavy.

Old Dunedin Prison Building, built in 1896
and retired in 2007.

Dunedin Law Courts building.

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin,
South Island, New Zealand.

This modern, free museum was perfect at this point in our walk. We decided to dodge out of the rain and, thus, learned way more than we expected we would!

Continued in Parts 2, 3, and 4...

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