Remarkables drive


Stewart Island


Taeiri Gorge


Lake Tekapo

Saturday 3 March, Oamaru.

The train station at Dunedin, starting point for the Taieri Gorge rail trip,  is a fine example from the times when train travel was the glamour way to go.  Elaborate, and worth the dozen or so photos we took, trying to find the best angle.:
The 114km gorge excursion brought to mind a few other train trips we’ve had, and despite this one being described as being one of the great rail trips of the World, I felt it didn’t quite match up to the Kuranda rail outing from Cairns.

But what was remarkable was the actual work which would have had to have been done by the railway workers to build the line to service the gold diggers of the upper Otago plateau in the 1860s. It would have been back breaking work, particularly for the 10 tunnels, where they could use only pick, shovel and just a little bit of explosive powder. The moutains the line was going through are fairly fragile rock, and it was feared that the whole hillside would come tumbling down if larger explosives were used

Before leaving Dunedin, we made a quick trip to the northeast of the city, where there’s a street called Baldwin street, which also claims a world record. We've read, that according to the Guinness Book of Records, Baldwin street is the steepest in the world, the claims of San Franciscans notwithstanding. It did look steep, and I wasn’t about to walk up it. Took the obligatory photo, and headed north to Oamaru.

Once again, the coastal weather couldn’t make up its mind. After the blue skies and warmish temperature of the rail trip, it was back to the gloom of sea mists and fog.

Our only stop on the way north was to see something about which we knew absolutely nothing – the Moeraki Boulders. They look like large blackish marbles washed up on a beach south of Oamaru. They have a geological claim to fame, which I’m certainly not sure of the details about – they are something I’ll have to read up on.

We saw them only because a signpost highlighted them, so we turned off the highway to see what it was all about. They are probably very important on the geological scale of things, but as an uneducated observer, I was less than impressed.

left: the Moeraki Boulders are the round rocks, centre frame

Next: The historic old town of Oamaru