I’m back and trying to play catch up. The internet is painfully slow here in our new place in Timaru. For anyone interested, I’ll try and upload additional pictures in the galleries here, and also include a link to Paul’s OneDrive album so you can see even more. https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=8ED0BDC398BD891E!110&authkey=!MSdz8tUa9cQ%24&ithint=folder%2cjpg
Here are some details of the second half of our stay in Dunedin. I’m hoping to have better internet at our next accommodation so look for more pictures in the galleries in a week or so.
No baking is off to a great start. Keep in mind my definition of no-baking still includes a microwave. However, I failed to mention that I’ve already made about four recipes of one of our favorites from back in the States, special thanks to sister Jo Jo, no-bake energy balls. These are basically, peanut butter, honey, oats, coconut and chocolate chips all molded into little sweet treats. There’s literally no baking involved. The second installment for no bake NZ is Healthy Microwave mini chocolate chip cookies. For those interested here is the link to where found the recipe. http://www.foodiefiasco.com/all-for-one-chocolate-chip-cookies/ They turned out pretty good for a “healthy” cookie though obviously did not quite taste like my Mom’s. A helpful link here for more tips and healthy recipes. https://m.facebook.com/JoScheurmanhealthybalance.
Our fourth night in Dunedin we moved to a bed and breakfast near the heart of the city. Cute old house but our room was so cold when we first walked in we could feel it through our winter coats. We added layers-thinking the heater just hadn’t had time to warm it up yet; we were wrong. When we returned hours later after walking to the “octagon,” Dunedin’s town center, the room almost felt colder than it was outside. Fortunately, there were electric blankets so we were able to sleep but Paul really had to bundle up for work in the wee hours. I requested another heater and it seemed to help a bit but by then we’d both gotten a bit edgy and knew that this room was not going to work for 3 more nights. We contemplated paying the penalty for checking out early, but the staff offered to move us to a room with a heat pump, so that’s what we did. It was clearly not the fault of anyone that the weather is the coldest NZ has seen in years. Even in the room with the heat pump both of us kept most of our layers on inside.
This also made it easier to get out and see the sights because we knew it was no more uncomfortable than staying in. One day we spent just simply walking through the city. For dinner we stumbled on a restaurant who advertised the “stone grill” We’d tried this style of dining out on one of our last trips here and loved it. It’s similar to the experience of the Melting Pot in that you cook your own meat, except that you cook it on a crazy hot stone instead of in broth. They literally bring you a raw piece of meat sizzling on this stone. For me the purpose of the hot stone was two-fold, cook dinner and keep my hands warm. No baking for these nights took the form of dining out. The next night we decided on a restaurant by searching the internet, but when we arrived at the front door realized we were underdressed so we turned and wandered around till we found “Ratbags and Innocent Bystander gourmet pizza bar” Weird name, wonderful pizza and warm inside. Enough said.
The architecture here is stunning. There were several old stone churches and government buildings and then there is the train station which claims to be the most photographed building, and it was very picturesque both inside and out. On our stroll through the inside we were treated to a local art exhibit.
We also found the schedule for scenic train rides through the Taieri gorge. It was a four hour trip, which after seeing the forecast, we booked for the following day hoping to spend some time inside where it was warm. Again, we were wrong. The scenery, no surprise here, was again amazing, and to our delight the sun was shining. The layer of frost added to the beauty but not the temperature. No worries though, by this point, we were dressed for the cold. Besides that, coffee and tea are readily available almost anywhere.
Along the way we met a family who run a dairy farm near Masterton, a town on the North Island, who were visiting Dunedin while the kids were on school holiday and the dairy cows were “drying out.” As we have come to expect, they were very friendly and invited us to “look them up” if we make it up to that area of the country. When we arrived back in the city, I planned to return to the pizza bar, but on our way we discovered a new culinary gem. The lights were on and the door was unlocked but we had to walk all the way to the kitchen before we found a person. That person happened to be the owner and head chef who was as friendly as well as a kiwi. He sat us next to the fire to thaw out and chatted for some time. The food here, pizza aside, was our favorite so far. They had crepe suzette on the dessert menu delicious and laced with fond memories of the ones my Mom used to make.
On our last full day in Dunedin, Paul’s weekend had begun and we made plans after talking with a couple locals to hike the organ pipes and Mt. Cargill and hopefully make it to Tunnel beach. We successfully accomplished both. On this frosty morning Paul navigated the winding road to the trail head as we watched the lone cloud hovering over Mt.Cargill dissipate. Off we went on our hike–which was not nearly as strenuous as we were expecting. The organ pipes are a rock formation apparently formed by volcanic activity where the lava solidified into hexagonal columns. It was very cool. Several had toppled over and were covered in frost which made clamoring up them a bit challenging but the view was almost worth it. The view from Mt. Cargill, was undoubtedly worth the walk over a snow covered sometimes slick trail. We were treated to an absolutely stunning full circle panoramic view.
The entire hike did not take as long as expected and we had plenty of daylight left to drive across town to tunnel beach. This trail from the car park to the beach was steep and very muddy and slick. Once at the bottom it was photographer’s paradise. Great scenery, with dusk rapidly approaching. You could walk out on the cliffs and look down on the sandy beach or walk down through the tunnel to the sand and look up at the cliffs. We did both and stayed until the sun was well on it’s way beneath the horizon. Bonus to this timing, when we walked back up the trail the mud was frozen so we kept our shoes from getting too gunked up with mud. Again, at the suggestion of one of our hosts, we drove a short way to see St. Clair beach and to have dinner. The café we headed for was closed but we easily found another pizza place.
The following morning was the coldest we’ve had so far and the frost was rather thick. For this reason, we delayed our departure slightly. Next stop, Moeraki boulders.