21 Jul 2017
A bit of everything - Queenstown to Dunedin
We awoke in Frankton and made the decision to road trip over to Dunedin. Leaving the beautiful town of Queenstown behind, we began the three and a half hour journey. First of all, though, we stopped in Arrowtown. Quaint and charming, Arrowtown is known for its preserved historical buildings and is a must-see.
Historically a mining town, Arrowtown now serves mostly tourists, although it’s population is just over 2,000. Take some time to wander down the cobbled streets, admiring the preserved shop fronts, or pop into a café for a coffee. One of the highlights of Arrowtown for me was stopping by the Remarkable Sweet Shop. Here, huge glass jars filled with all sorts of colourful sweets line the shelves. I was reminded of a scene from Harry Potter as I looked around the store, and I couldn’t help but take a few paper bags of sweets for the road.
Back on the road in our van, we passed through Cromwell and Alexandra, before stopping at Lake Roxburgh River to look at the dam. The Roxburgh Dam was the earliest of the large hydroelectric projects in this area, and the view over the Clutha River from here is quite stunning. If you do stop near here, there are plenty of orchards to provide fruit in summer, or you can stop by Jimmy’s Pies which are decidedly good!
When you reach Rae’s Junction, you’re about halfway to Dunedin. From this leg onwards, we drove through small towns that were established during Otago’s gold rush in the 1860s. The road is a bit windy in places but we got to Milton it straightened out for the last leg to Dunedin.
We reached Dunedin in the early afternoon, so we drove out to the peninsula for a bit of seal-spotting. Elm Wildlife Tours take people out to the Otago peninsula, and provide excellent guides for the local wildlife. With their help, we got up close and personal with some sea lions, fur seals, penguins and other birdlife! We had an amazing time exploring Otago’s coast and seeing these beautiful animals in their natural environment.
We returned to the city, looking for a cheap eat. There seemed to be plenty of choice for eating out, and we stumbled across the Chopsticks 101 restaurant, which provided great value for money with large, tasty plates.
Throughout our New Zealand adventures, we had been wanting to see some glow worms at night, and here was our chance! After dinner, we headed out to Leith Valley to see if we could spy the little critters. What a beautiful hidden gem! After walking down a small track for a few hundred meters, we began to see them glittering in the dark. Like glowing stars in the dark sky, they provided a real treat for us and a night adventure. We were able to trek a little further along the path to get to a waterfall. We were tired but elated when we got back to our van and turned in for the night!