Posted by: scribe9 | February 26, 2010

Heading south

Today we returned to the South Island, to see more of it than we did just before Christmas. We drove to Auckland, and barely got through it in time to make our plane, what with Friday afternoon traffic and all the roadwork and a crash on our favorite highway, 1. Why didn’t we drive the whole way? New Zealand is about the length of California, but the driving time from top to bottom (not including the three-hour ferry ride between the islands) is thirty hours, assuming one can breeze through Auckland and other trouble spots.

To my surprise, I couldn’t buy a little carton or bottle of milk to have with my supper anywhere in the airport–except some odd chocolate milk at McDonald’s, and I’ve given up chocolate for Lent anyway. One would think that in an airport in dairy country that wouldn’t be an issue. It reminded me of having dinner on the deck of a restaurant in Stillwater, Minnesota, which had run out of milk–and right across the river was Wisconsin.

Getting through security was quick–they didn’t even check ID or tickets, and we could keep our shoes on.

We flew into Dunedin, which is about four-fifths of the way down the South Island, and about as far south of the equator as Portland is north. The airport counts as an international airport because one airline flies to Brisbane, Australia, but it’s a pretty small airport–just two jetways. Its airport code is, unfortunately, DUD. It’s the first place I’ve ever stepped out of the airport into the familiar smells of a dairy farm.

We arrived at the airport at 9, when there was still a little light in the sky–not only from being much further south, but also further west–but by the time we got our rental car it was dark, so we have seen nothing of Dunedin except part of its stretch of Highway 1, part of which is a very nice motorway (freeway).



  1. It’s supposed to be the most Scottish city outside of Scotland and near there were places to see the penguins come ashore at night and also a bluff where you can see Albatross activities.

    • We saw the penguins during the day–just standing around, see next post–but didn’t see the Albatrosses.

  2. I remember seeing penguins there in 87when I was there. We got a key to a locked gate on a farmer’s field and walked to the edge of a cliff to look down on them coming in to roost for the night. There were seals on the other side of the beach. Quite a thrill seeing those penguins with my first binoculars bought just for that trip!

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