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New Zealand South Island SPLENDOR: Celebrating 25th Anniversary Surrounded by RIBBONS OF WATERFALLS!!! Feb. 2007

New Zealand South Island SPLENDOR: Celebrating 25th Anniversary Surrounded by RIBBONS OF WATERFALLS!!! Feb. 2007

Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:01 PM
  #21  
 
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How about a word from the biologist husband?
johhj_au is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:05 PM
  #22  
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COMING UP NEXT: Dunedin & Moeraki Boulders & More...
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:19 PM
  #23  
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johhj au: My responses do include the opinions of my biologist husband, who is busy biologizing as he is now swamped with work, having his own business and just having returned from vacation!

I did ask him if he has anything to say (besides what we have already discussed.) He began to tell me to tell people where to see certain herps in New Zealand on the south island...herps being anything in the lizard, gecko, etc. family...And believe me it was NOT anywhere that is on anybody's Must-See List... Then he changed his mind and said, on second thought, don't tell anyone...he doesn't want anybody to collect the herps he did spy...He likes to photograph them... (As if anybody wants to! You really DON'T want to, do you?!)

It's a lot like bird-watching. You search for the bird, you spy the bird, you add it to your list, you might get a photo...

Also, as I mentioned, he especially loved our day with Robert Brown, Wildlife Photographer. My husband loves to have a look at areas which still retain some native flora and fauna.

He really enjoyed our walks on the Routeburn Track, from both ends, and was busy with his binoculars, keeping track of all the native birds he could spy.

I always consult my husband when I am writing the sections of my trip report which involve wildlife or native flora and fauna.
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:38 PM
  #24  
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Moeraki Boulders

If ever there was a great natural site ruined by tourism, this is it! 8-) The Moeraki Boulders, north of Dunedin, were completely crawling with tourists when we arrived at the beach. Just one boulder alone had 8 young people standing on top of it!

You had a choice...you could enter the beach for free from one end...or you could drive up to a private cafe/shop at the other end of the beach, and pay $2 for the privilege. Not sure if they wanted you to pay for the toilet, the stairs, or the boulders...

We entered for free from the other end of the beach.

My husband found the boulders an interesting natural formation. But we both found that their popularity had really gotten out of hand.

We both agreed that if you are in the area have a look, but don't drive out of your way to see the Moeraki Boulders.



Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:54 PM
  #25  
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Otago Museum, Dunedin

There is a great museum in Dunedin with free admission! We came upon it unexpectedly and only had 2 hours to explore it. My husband loved it and wished for more time.

The museum's themes are culture, nature, and science.

There is a Discovery World section which you would need to buy tickets for, and it is hands-on. This is good for families with children.

Check it out if you have enough time in Dunedin. My husband liked the Animal Attic, Nature Galleries, and Bird and Insect Galleries.

I liked wandering about this delightfully eclectic collection. Plus the museum has a nice little cafe.

Address:
419 Great King Street, Dunedin
Web: www.otagomuseum.govt.nz

My rating: 7/10 Definitely Worthwhile
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 10:59 PM
  #26  
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Coming up Next: The Brothers Boutique Hotel, Dunedin; plus Food Report and More
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 11:28 PM
  #27  
 
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Question

I just tried to post a report from my family's trip to the SI but nothing has appeared

Is there a trick to posting trip reports?
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Feb 22nd, 2007, 11:30 PM
  #28  
 
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ooops- i was too impatient- it is there now
angelnot1 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 03:06 PM
  #29  
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DUNEDIN:
The Brothers Boutique Hotel


www.brothershotel.co.nz
295 Rattray St.
My rating: 8/10 Great Place; Friendly!

We booked the romantic chapel room (room 4) with stained-glass windows for $230 NZ per night since it was our anniversary. Beautiful and spacious room!

Less expensive rooms also available. Pleasant Views: city and harbour in the distance.

This small hotel has been renovated from a former Christian Brother's residence, so it's a 1920's home with character.

Rod is incredibly friendly and efficient and seems to be everywhere at once, doing everything! He inquires at breakfast how your visit is going. Rod also cheerfully made local calls for us. Great service here.

Continental breakfast in cheerful room.
Breakfast: choice of 3 fresh whole grain breads (with toaster), muesli cereal, yogurt, milk, fruit, individual french-press coffee, tea, juice. Very nice.

5-minute walk down the hill into town; 10-minute walk back up the steep hill to hotel.

We were allowed to check into our room early, before noon! Yes, we would definitely stay here again if we return to Dunedin. It is just the right distance out of the busy town centre of Dunedin.

COMING UP NEXT: Dunedin Food Plus Invercargill, Te Anau, and More...
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 09:52 PM
  #30  
 
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Great report keep it coming!

I was able to spend some time in the Otago Museum this trip and really enjoyed it also.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:47 PM
  #31  
 
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Looking forward to your report- tracking similar route albeit in a different context
angelnot1 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2007, 10:37 AM
  #32  
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mlgb: Don't you just love how the Otago Museum in Dunedin houses such an eclectic collection all in one museum? Here in California we would have to have the natural history stuff in a separate building from the cultural & people stuff...I loved how they set up the Otago Museum!

angelnot1: Wow, you must be in the exciting and confusing planning stages. Is this your first trip to NZ? It is just gorgeous and you'll never forget it.

Coming Up Next: Dunedin Food;
Te Anau, Milford, & Doubtful Report;
Queenstown, Glenorchy, Routeburn track;
Mt. Cook; West Coast.
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2007, 10:42 AM
  #33  
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angelnot1: Oops, I just noticed you ARE the person writing the other exciting trip report! I misunderstood your post and thought you were planning a new trip.
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 04:17 PM
  #34  
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DUNEDIN: Skippable or a Must-See??

My first impression of Dunedin was disappointing. I guess I expected Dunedin to have a lot more Scottish character...like, did I expect to see a bagpipe player in kilts standing on the hill?! :-?

But as our 3 nights in Dunedin played out, she grew on me...Dunedin is best described as a university town, like a marriage between Berkeley, California, near the liberal University of California Berkeley campus...and a mid-sized Irish town. (Never having been to Scotland, that is the metaphor that best matches my experience! )

Dunedin was quiet during our visit as the university was having holidays...Many places in town were closed.

There was a brief and vigorous bicycle race right through town that drew a small and boisterous crowd.

My conclusion: Dunedin is NOT a Must-See, but it is a pleasant city base on the east coast for day-trips on the Otago Peninsula; it is home to the free and eclectic Otago Museum; and it offers a peak at a "real" university town, that has NOT been spoiled by tourism.

DUNEDIN FOOD:

Good Oil, Dunedin

The Good Oil is a casual little cafe where you can enjoy inexpensive and tasty food and coffee alongside students and locals. It's on George St., which definitely reminds me of the little streets full of small cafes south of U.C. Berkeley, California. Delightfully "real" and unspoiled.

We told the young man who took our order that the Good Oil is now famous on the internet. (Thanks to Melnq8!) He said we made his day. I ordered a delicious lamb bagel with tomatoes and green leafy stuff. Lamb in N.Z. is always the real stuff, not cold cuts. Also, enjoyed pumpkin soup...yum! And a great Flat White...an expresso drink that is way better than Starbucks...

We sat outside with a bicyclist and students. Lots of little cafes and a bakery on George St. Very casual, tasty, fresh, and our favorite meal in Dunedin. Enjoy!

FOOD IN NEW ZEALAND:

Using our Rough Guide we sampled a whole series of just-okay cafes and restaurants in New Zealand. We finally figured out that for New Zealand South Island, the best recommendations for food came from the Fodors 2007 guidebook and also from Melnq8 here on the web!

I will only be mentioning the eateries that are worth seeking out. We didn't have any bad food in New Zealand, but I won't mention all the mediocre food we had, from budget to expensive.
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 04:25 PM
  #35  
 
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Well, even though Melnq got credit instead of mlgb, I'm glad you enjoyed the Good Oil!
mlgb is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 04:48 PM
  #36  
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QUEENSTOWN: A Must-See or Touristy?

Is Queenstown a Must-See or is it too Touristy?

Here is our conclusion:
Lively Queenstown is a wonderful place to unwind! Attractive waterfront area and lake, and a town framed by beautiful mountains.

Among the maze of back-streets are dozens of tacky little shops to buy cheap New Zealand souveneirs...made in China! Some souveneirs are designed in New Zealand...and still made in China!

Yet, Queenstown remains an attractive base for 3 nights. Some of the best restaurants, in every budget, are collected in Queenstown. Lots of shopping, from tacky to Refined Boutique. Take the gondola ride up to enjoy the view. Insane activities like bungee jumping close by. And the beauty and peace of rainforest trails only a 1-hour drive away towards Glenorchy! >< Wineries also nearby.

We saw a great close-up view of 2 Kiwis at the pleasant Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown, as well as other endangered birds.

Stay within walking distance to town for a few days to unwind from all those hours of driving.

Some people on-line complain that Queenstown doesn't feel very much like New Zealand. But we loved the international flavor of Queenstown. We loved the authentic cuisines from all over the globe that have collected in Queenstown. We met and chatted with tourists and employees in Queenstown from all around the globe, and they all had one thing in common...a love for the beauty of New Zealand!

Want to meet locals in Queenstown? Seek out Joe's Garage, which has moved to:

Joe's Garage, Queenstown
(Caffe L'Affare)


Searle Lane, Queenstown

Sip a terrific Flat white... Lively music, efficient service, friendly. This place has a happy vibe. You will have to talk over the music, but that creates a nice happy buzz. From outside this place won't attract too many clueless tourists, a relatively hidden treasure.

"Kid's fluffy" is a drink on the menu.

For $14 NZ we tried this tasty delight: Eggs on vogel toast with hollandaise sauce on the side, small tomato, a few field greens, with bacon, salmon or mushrooms. That is the most expensive breakfast on the menu. Lunch menu as well with sandwiches. Nice, modern bathroom with 2 toilets in ladies room and great faucets. Fresh flowers in ladies room.

Coming Up Next: Queenstown Food; Glenorchy and Routeburn track; Kiwi Birdlife Park; Queenstown accomodations and More
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 05:03 PM
  #37  
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mlgb: Oh dear, you are right, it was melnq8 who recommended the excellent Little India in Queenstown, and mlgb who recommended the terrific Good Oil in Dunedin... Please forgive my overloaded memory cells! #-o

Mlgb AND Melnq8 both have excellent recommendations for New Zealand south island. Thank you both for really making our trip over-the-top fantastic!

And everybody else who advised me...there were so many helpful fodorites!
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 07:12 PM
  #38  
 
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Hi Melissa -

Never heard of the Good Oil, but will be sure to try it based on mlgb's and your recommendation if I ever find myself back in Dunedin.

Found your comments about Dunedin interesting. We've been there a few times - it's nice enough, but I've never really understood why so many tourists seem determined to fit it into their itineraries.
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Feb 26th, 2007, 07:28 PM
  #39  
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Melnq8: Happy trip planning...your upcoming 7th trip is it? Enjoy!

I SKIPPED TE ANAU! OOPSIE!

I'll finish QUEENSTOWN and then report on TE ANAU.
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Feb 27th, 2007, 08:23 AM
  #40  
 
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