Dunedin, New Zealand

Monday, April 16, 2018

So far, Dunedin has been the best part of our trip to New Zealand!  Our morning started in Omarama, we drove through Oamaru, and arrived at our farm stay in Dunedin late afternoon.  Our drive took us through the city center and we were amazed by the beautiful Victorian train station.  A friend recommended staying at Silver Peaks Lodge, and we are very glad that we followed her suggestion!

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Sheep greeted us on our drive up to the Lodge.  On arrival we were shown a beautiful room with an attached veranda with amazing views.  We wandered the property a bit and visited a beautiful pond and the hen house.

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We thought about driving to the beach, but enjoyed the veranda so much that we stayed until sunset.  For dinner, we went to Nellie’s, where I had delicious venison and Jeremy had a nice steak.  John tried out the kids menu and discovered that BBQ ribs are one of his favorite foods.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Our morning started out with an amazing view, followed by a nice breakfast that included fresh milk, fresh poached eggs on an English muffin, sausages, yogurt, peaches, and more.  The eggs were particularly good.

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After breakfast we watched the sheep dogs go fetch a herd of sheep that were purchased just last week.  It was quite impressive.  The owner participates in sheep dog competitions and after the sheep sheering, he gave us a demonstration of what was expected.  Amazing!

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After the sheep were herded to the barn, they were sorted based on how much wool they had on them.  They were actually lambs since they were just born in September.

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We got to watch two sheerings, which was a first for both us and the lambs being shorn.  The sheering clippers looked like an oversized version of the clippers that I use on the boys hair when I give them haircuts.  The nice thing was that the sheep were much more docile than the boys were the first time I tried cutting their hair.  They really didn’t seem to mind much.

After the sheering, the sheep were sorted based on whether they had nice wool and were worth keeping, or whether they should be turned into lamb chops.  Apparently the merino sheep are the most valuable, but Dunedin is too wet for them and their hoofs rot.  The sheep in this lot were coarse wool sheep.  If a sheep has a black face or black spots on its wool it is a lamb chop.  If the wool is completely white and has no obvious defects, it is a wool sheep and gets a blue tag in its ear.

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We watched a few, and then we were offered to let us try to catch them for him to tag.  Jeremy was pretty good at it, but as much as John tried, they were too big for him.  John was able to get his arms around the sheep, but he couldn’t quite get a good enough grip on the sheep to get their hoofs in the air.  When someone caught one for him, he was able to drag it over to the tagging station and hold it still.

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After the sheering, the sheep were sorted again by color of tag and were put in different pastures. There were 49 wool sheep and only a few lamb chops.

We then got a really nice demonstration of what a sheep dog competition might be like.  Next, it was time to feed the chickens that gave us our wonderful breakfast.

John was a mess, so he came back to the room for a shower, then we headed to Ocean View Beach for a picnic and a stroll.

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Even though it snowed just last week, we let John put on his shorts and wade in the water.

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John started getting a little deeper than we would prefer, so we let the kids put on their suits.  At first, James was wise, didn’t want to participate, and kept his jeans and sweater on, but then changed his mind when John put on his suit.  Unfortunately, he gets colder much faster than John, so I ended up taking apart my 3-in-1 jacket and giving him the windbreaker.  Towards the end of our stroll, a gigantic wind moved in, followed by pelting rain that almost took out my contacts.  We ran for the car, getting quite drenched in the process.  We were a mess, so it was back to the Lodge to clean up.

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Next on the list was the Dunedin city center.  We parked by the Cadbury Factory, but they were out of tours for the day.  The boys were disappointed, but we made a plan to stop by the cafe on the way back to the car.  We went to the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, which was quite nice and a lot of fun for the boys.  We walked by the lovely Victorian era train station, then wandered up to St. Paul’s Cathedral, but it closed at 3:00, so we were limited to viewing the outside.

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We saw two children walking out of a little grocery store with some delicious looking sundaes, so we went in, found out they have $2 Tuesday sundae specials, and enjoyed them in front of the Cathedral.

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At this point, we remembered the Cadbury Factory Cafe, but after the gigantic sundaes, no one had any room left.  We picked up some deli food from the grocery store, my Greek salad was quite nice, and went back to the Lodge to enjoy the sunset.

Dunedin has been my favorite city so far, definitely one that surprised me and one that I would love to come back to and spend more time.

I am finally caught up on this blog and tomorrow we are heading to Te Anau and the Glowworm Caves!

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