NZ South Island – Queenstown to Dunedin

We were up before the sun this morning as today marked the first day of the road trip portion of our honeymoon and we wanted to get on the road to Dunedin early. We checked out of the hotel and headed to Fergbaker to grab breakfast and something for lunch later as we knew we didn’t have time for a sit down lunch in Dunedin before the activities we had planned.

At Fergbaker we grabbed coffee, sausage rolls, croissants and some focaccias. We found out later they got our order wrong. Also Ronnie asked them for some of their barbeque sauce which he was informed was actually chocolate. We had the sausage rolls and coffee before hitting the road. Since it was such a cold morning it hit the spot. The last stop before the drive was to fuel up. Petrol here is very expensive. To fill our rental Toyota Corolla while still a quarter full was about 80 Australian dollars.

Anyway, we finally got onto the highway for our drive to Dunedin where we will be for two nights. We made a couple of very short stops along the way and Google Maps definitely took us the scenic route. The scenery is really different out this way but very beautiful nonetheless.

Once we got to Dunedin the first thing we noticed was how icy cold the wind was and the 6 degree temperature at almost midday. We also noticed the industrial style of the city and the fact that although the roads were busy with cars not many people were around.

We braved the cold to sit outside and eat our lunch we purchased earlier. We ordered tomato and pesto focaccia but we ended up with olive and rosemary focaccia. Ronnie doesn’t like olives so he didn’t eat his. He ate the plain and almond croissants and really enjoyed those. Aimee ate the focaccia as she likes olives and it wasn’t too bad.

After we finished eating we were going to the Otago Museum. Before we headed in we checked out the whisper dishes. They were two big metal dishes faced towards each other a good distance away. You whisper into one while another person stands at the other and they can clearly hear what you said. Very cool.

We entered the museum and decided to have a drink at the cafe so we could get warm in the heating before walking around the exhibits. We got a strawberry milkshake and an L&P.

Most exhibits are free at the museum but they have a planetarium and a science centre which costs money to visit. We purchased tickets in advance to these things so just had to head to the shop to grab our tickets. They gave us wristbands for the science centre and a printed out ticket for the planetarium. Ronnie won’t admit his mistake but just after we got the planetarium ticket he scrunched it up and chucked it in the bin because he thought it was a receipt. He had to go back in and he said he lost it within the two minutes of them first printing it out.

We still had a bit of time before the paid exhibit and planetarium so we checked out the free exhibits. They had one about technology and women in gaming. It had some cool interactive things about images and light. After this we headed to the science centre.

The science centre was all interactive. It also had a tall slide, light room and butterfly sanctuary. We played around with the interactive stuff first. There was one where you had to build a structure to withstand an earthquake. There was another where you put a straw on a metal rod and when you bit down on it you could hear music. That was super cool. Ronnie had a go on the slide, we checked out the light room and then headed to the butterfly sanctuary.

They keep the butterfly sanctuary extremely hot and humid. There were many different butterflies in the sanctuary. Ronnie kept ducking because he was scared. They also had tarantulas in there (safely behind glass!), a turtle and butterflies that were soon to come out of their cocoons. When we exited the butterfly sanctuary we had to check ourselves really well to make sure we weren’t transporting any butterflies out with us. They can be sneaky and get into all the nooks and crannies of your belongings.

It was then about time for our planetarium show. We were watching Phantom of the Universe narrated by Tilda Swinton about dark matter. This was our third planetarium and they’re always really interesting. We sat up the front where you feel the most motion from the moving images. The seats were so comfortable and Tilda’s voice was so calming that we both started to drift off to sleep a little. We managed to stay awake though.

After the planetarium show we left the museum to head to the hotel for check in. The hotel is really nice. At check in they gave us a freshly made passionfruit tea and then escorted us to our room to show us around it. We planned to stay in for a while before dinner but we both started to get quite peckish at around 4pm because of the small lunch so we decided to head to our dinner spot as it was already open.

We ate at Esplanade which is set right near the ocean. It had lovely views and was already quite busy when we got there. We’re glad we didn’t get there much later because by the time we left there was a queue for a table as the restaurant doesn’t take bookings.

We ordered crochettes, fries with aioli, a pancetta pizza and parpadelle pasta with slow roasted lamb and mushrooms. All of the food was so delicious. The crochettes were the perfect texture and flavoured with salami, the pizza base was crisp and the sauce was nice, and the pasta was perfectly al dente. Even the fries were very tasty with garlic and parsley to flavour them. This was easily our second best meal we ate so far (after Margo’s in Queenstown) and Aimee touts it as the best Italian food she’s had outside of Italy. It wasn’t anything fancy but just perfect.

After the amazing dinner we walked along the esplanade for lovely ocean views. We then headed back to near our hotel for a sweet treat. We wanted to end the perfect Italian meal with gelato. We went to Gelato Junkie at the heart of Dunedin, the octagon. This place just does either a waffle cup or a waffle cone. No disposable cups. We both got waffle cups, one with mint chocolate chip gelato and the other with Belgian chocolate gelato. The gelato was super creamy and tasty and the waffle cup was flavoured with cinnamon so it tasted like a churro. So genius and yummy. We wish more gelato and ice cream shops did this.

Dunedin has been quite good so far. It’s definitely got an interesting vibe. We’re now back in our hotel room for the evening to rest up before a full day of activities tomorrow.

Fergbaker – $34
Fuel – $88
Parking – $11
Museum cafe drinks – $10
Dinner – $85
Gelato – $11
Total – $239

Much love,
Ronnie & Aimee

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