Busy day today and the clocks went back in New Zealand, so a possible early start, and dark finish for the day.
Today we were heading to Dunedin, where we heard Ed Sheeran was performing his final three performances, on consecutive nights. Dunedin has a population of 120,000. Ed, in the three days he performed here, was playing to a total of 120,000 people. It seems the city has become obsessed with Ed Sheeran, there was even an Easter Egg Hunt. The aim was to find a photograph of Ed Sheeran inspired street art, your best Forsyth Barr experience (where Ed played) and to snap and tag yourself in front of the Ed Sheeran wall. There were also take off t-shirts on sale in a variety of designs but wait until you see mine.
We packed up on a cool but cloudless day and head East, stopping at various tourist attractions on the way. At one point we saw people sitting out in the wilderness on chairs staring into the valley, we concluded they were cheap skate plane spotters who wanted to watch the Wanaka War Planes in action this Easter Sunday. They had been flying the previous two days, and I think today was going to be a big fly day.
Our first stop was Bendigo, a gold mine. The mine was a small cave in a rather inaccessible place. First we had to cross yet another ford (yeah!), and then drive up some steep dirt roads. Parked on the verge and then scrabbled down into a steep valley. Yes, the mine was there, impressive. We met two other people who had visited the place 30 years ago. They commented on the massive changes here, where once there was scrub, now there were vineyards.
Next stop was Ophir. This was an old mining town with some of the building still in existence. We had a coffee and cakes at Pitches Store which is an impressive building built during the Gold rush era. The town was a one street hillbilly type of habitation.
A short drive on was the Hayes Engineering Workshop. We hit it on an open day. Country music, BBQ and women spinning were the features to come to our attention. We skirted by this to look at the exhibits. The workshop was founded by Hayes who emigrated to New Zealand from Warwickshire and started making implements which would help him farm. He ended up selling his wares around New Zealand, employing men in the factory and employing salesmen and saleswomen to sell his wares throughout NZ
Nearby we stopped at a gold mine head where there were about 20 cyclists visiting the area, all leaving their bikes on the verge. A quick 20-minute visit and then we were on are way. This time non-stop to Dunedin.
The landscape we saw on the drive was impressive. Driving on mainly flatlands bordered by high hills on either side. Fields had huge crop irrigation systems, like the ones in Norfolk around Thetford, but so much larger. In some places we could see for very long distances to mountain ranges far away.
On arriving in Dunedin, all the parking spaces were gone, kids were all walking in one direction towards the arena. We mad a bee line to the railway station to enquire about tickets on the local tourist train that takes you through a spectacular gorge.
Next to find a campsite. Yes, we could get in despite Ed, though all cabins were booked and only a few spaces available for small campers.
Rosemary saw the owner had a webcam feed running on the Albatross colony, so received yet some more advice for Tuesday when we hope to see Albatross and Penguins.