Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dunedin (Dunnerz) - student city and catching up with Becci!

So onwards to Dunedin. Dunedin would you know, is actually one of the first places settled in the South Island. It was also where the Scots landed, hence it's name Dunedin (the old name for Edinburgh). Dun = hill, so Edin-on-the-hill. Pretty good eh? It's still got alot of Scottish heritage, seen in the buildings and even the people and their accents. Everyone refers to people in Dunedin as crazy, with very rough accents (they roll their r's apparently), obviously descending from the Scottish accent. You can even see the Scottish genes in the locals (lots of ginger freckly people, and dark curly hair with freckles and pale skin colour).
Dunedin is a unique city and I would actually say it's my favourite 'city' in New Zealand so far. At only roughly 120,000 people, it's a small city on European terms but big for New Zealand, however it still had that 'South Island small-town-city' feel, nice and quiet! It felt like Bangor with it's hilly roads, old buildings and university lifestyle and it really took me back to the good old student days! There's even two beaches, St Kilda and Brighton beach and it has a really cool arty-scene, lots of street art - a bit like Melbourne in Australia. It's also home to New Zealands first and biggest University, The University of Otago, and the first and oldest Church, plus a super cute Train station!

We were staying at a super nice hostel, Geeky Gecko, which became our home for the 5 days we were there. The first thing we did when we arrived, went shopping as A. there was the 1st PAK'N'SAVE supermarket we'd seen on the South Island, and B. with the start of Autumn hitting pretty suddenly in temperature, we needed to buy some actual winter clothes and a coat! So I went long-sleeve top, leggings, gloves, coat and boots mad at Warehouse (I bought a bargain winter coat for only $12 at a 2nd hand clothing store - yay for being a student town!). We also decided to treat ourselves to Moules Frites Thai Curry as we had found a pak'n'save which is the cheapest place for Mussels.
Over our time there we decided to do some sight-seeing. We went and checked-out and walked up the Worlds Steepest Street, Baldwin Street, we walked through the beautiful Botanical Gardens and then walked back to town via the University. Which is very much like Bangor/Cambridge in it's architecture. We also walked via the student area which brought back so many memories seeing all the trashy houses with sofas outside and music blaring from inside, rubbish strewn around and alcohol bottles overflowing the bins. It was freshers week here that week so it was pumping with students!
We also checked out the Octagon; the centre of town, went on our own street art tour, checked out the oldest church, and just enjoyed spending our time chilling around town in parks. We also checked out the free museum there which was actually very interesting. They also have a Cadbury's factory but we decided not to pay $25 each for a tour. Our last day we met with Becci, our friend from Oz, and had a wonderful few hours catching up, especially as she had recently married her Nepalese fiance, and enjoyed hearing about her life living in Nepal. She was back for a while to escape life over there for a bit as it had become intense having to live with his parents with the culture and caste difference, and plus her sister was due to make her an auntie again so a good excuse for family time. We actually also met her again while we were touring the Catlins during our current WWOOFing placement, just randomly at Curio Bay...hang-on I know that girl, ah it's Becci! So weird but so cool!

Then it was time to venture off to another great HelpX/WWOOFing experience in Surat Bay,  the Catlins, with Jack and Ester, where we are currently managing a Hostel...pretty cool experience and great for future job prospects! More about that soon in my next blog!

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