Not too far north of Dunedin along the coast are the geological marvels of the moeraki boulders. Prior to our visit, I’d seen all kinds of pictures of these, they are on the cover of my NZ travel guide and this was my first chance to see them in real life. I was totally excited with anticipation as we left Dunedin. The travel guides suggested the best time to view the boulders was at low tide which would have been great except that when we consulted the tide schedules, low tide for the day we were going to be traveling was early in the morning or late in the evening, neither of which we could make accommodate our travel schedule. As it turned out, we arrived just before high tide and they were still marvelous. The sun was shining bright there was only a slight breeze and it felt warm compared to the days we’d been out and about in Dunedin. It’s a very touristy spot; the buildings were built into a dome shape, undoubtedly to mimic the rock formations themselves. There was a lovely café and of course a gift shop. We enjoyed a delicious lunch as we gazed out over the ocean all without our coats on.
From here, Timaru was not much further and we only made one more stop at my request when we arrived at a beautiful picnic area along the coast with the Toi Toi highlighted in the sun against the backdrop of sand and waves. I just had to have a picture.
After we checked in at our new accommodation, we just settled in. Paul got set up for work, concerned about the internet connection and for dinner, I fried the last two eggs that we had. The next morning I began examining the city map in the luxury of our cozy warm room. It’s so nice to relax inside without coats. The city has a plethora of parks and miles and miles of walking tracks. When I peeked outside to check the status of the dawn, there was a hint of pink in the sky and a fingernail moon, oh, and a fairly thick layer of frost on everything. The sunrise lured me to the beach, I layered up and made the short 5 minute walk to the beach at Caroline Bay. Captivated by the sunrise, I stood and watched as the blazing red ball emerged from the ocean feeling distinctly the presence of invisible life within me. I was looking forward to coming back to explore more of the beach area with Paul.
We’d already made plans to drive to lake Tekapo after he finished work. The drive was scenic, through more rolling green hills up toward the snowcapped mountains. They were dramatic, even against a bland, monochromatic, cloudy background, easy to imagine how spectacular the white caps would have looked against a blue sky. Lake Tekapo was just as we’d remembered, turquoise blue, surrounded by mountains, colder this visit compared to last, but still beautiful. After resting for a few minutes walking down to the shore and of course snapping photos, we decided to abandon the plans to drive the loop around through Twizel (pronounced “Twhy zell” more like twilight than twizlers) and Waimate and just return to Timaru the way we’d come.
It was time to do more grocery shopping. This again took longer than anticipated even though I’d compiled a definitive list. It just was a matter of navigating another unfamiliar and much larger supermarket, Pak n Save. Even though I was now equipped to prepare a couple “skillet” meals, as this room has a cooktop, we opted for one more dinner out. You’re probably not surprised that we sought out another pizza joint. After enjoying a nice bottle of gewürztraminer with our pizza we walked home in the dark through the expansive park behind Caroline Bay. This we would see more clearly the next day.
I spent the morning working on prep for dinners so I could put them together more quickly come evening time. The forecast temperature looked very comfortable and turned out to be so, to our delight. We departed the motel at just after 11am and did not return until after the sun went down, 6 hours later. We started with a walk down to the Benvenue cliffs and then on the beach at Caroline Bay, a vast wide sandy beach with a network of wonderful boardwalk paths through the sand dunes. Beyond the dunes toward the city was an expansive park area where there is a skate park, an aviary, an amphitheater, a rose garden, a pool, a miniature train, sand volleyball parks, skating rink, tennis and basketball courts all with large spacious grassy areas intermingled. It was the most relaxing place to take a lengthy stroll, or a jog or a trip around the “fitness circuit” to the different stations that are set up with equipment to incorporate strength training with cardio exercise. There’s a fountain incorporated within a beautiful set of stairs coupled with an elevator to take you up to street level where you can continue walking down Stafford street for an urban hike through numerous café’s and shops. We took this walk too, went around the block and sorted out some insurance paperwork. When we made our way back to Stafford we stumbled upon a paper crafting store, I walked through admiring the creativity and chatting with the lady inside, I’d just missed my opportunity to be there for the weekly card class. Aw shucks! We stopped in a couple more shops for a bit of retail therapy and meandered in to Coffee Culture for a bagel sandwich and coffee-YUM! This would become a regular stop during our stay in Timaru, a definite favorite. After that we casually carried on back through the park taking time to walk through the aviary this time. The pink bird that greeted us on entry was rather sassy, just as I get when I feel trapped and confined. Looking back on the video that Paul captured and how “funny” I thought the bird was, it makes me wonder who’s observing on the outside of my cage, finding my sass humorous and entertaining.
Then we were back on the beach, beckoned to linger, mesmerized by the waves and the birds. The sun was dipping low and the clouds looked promising for a nice sunset so we went back to the Benvenue cliffs where we’d started our day and waited for sunset. The sky was amazing and constantly changing. There we stayed to soak up the wonderful sunset in the sea air. What a treat. We both really like Timaru and can imagine how beautiful it’d be in the summer. It is smaller and quieter than Dunedin, it has awesome walking tracks and the beach is so relaxing.