A Travellerspoint blog

Dunedin and Otago Penninsula...check!

Dunedin and Otago Penninsula…check!

Fast forward: Arrival Dunedin. Cute city/college town. Best part of our visit was our first beer and meeting the very cute Kiwi bartender who served it to us. Hearing our accents, he asked us where we were from. When we told him New York, his bright blue eyes lit up and he clucked to us:

“I’m dying to go to New York and get a biiiiig slice of pizza and fold it in half and eat it just like that!”

Then he added (no joke, you couldn’t write it this good): “And I’d also love to go to that other little city you guys have, you know, the one with all the angry Irish people?

Our reply: “Um, Boston?”

“Yeah, Boston, that’s it! I’d love to go to one of those rough and rowdy bars and tear it up with those guys! Right on, Mate.”

Here’s Nikki enjoying her first beer in NZ:

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Following an 11 hour well-deserved sleep, we packed up the Nissan and drove out to the Otago Penninsula. Picture Ireland (sooooo many sheep, sooooo much green), but with sun. And bigger mountains. And penguins.

Here is the Otago countryside:

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Our tour guide at Penguin Place (a very cool preserve where they’ve built all these tunnels and “hides” so you can see the birds super close up) was charming, informative and VERY into penguins (um, she had a Penguin scrunchie). While we did not get any pictures of her hairpiece, we did get great shots of yellow-eyed penguins (the most anti-social breed of penguin in the world, and very endangered) and fur-seals in their natural habitat (who knew that seals and penguins hang out on grassy knolls shared by sheep…not just on ice!).

Here are the critters in their cute and proud glory:

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We are a few days behind…but coming soon…our drive to Te Anau, the adventures of Barnyard Backpackers and Milford Sound! The hike we loved…and the kayak that nearly ended in divorce (but don’t worry we are still married)! xoxo Nikki and Marin

Posted by Marbert18 22:37 Archived in New Zealand Tagged dunedin penguins seals otago_penninsula Comments (4)

We've Arrived!

Crossing the international date-line into the Southern Hemisphere

After what seemed like the never-ending journey to the ends of the earth, Marin and I finally arrived in the quaint “city” of Dunedin. The hours leading up to our arrival were fraught with lost baggage, dizzy spells, bland Bloody Marys, all too perky flight attendants (YES, I know my shoes are untied!!!), and very, very, very little sleep (or if you are Marin no sleep at all). One of my favorite moments was when Marin and I boarded Air New Zealand flight 7 from San Francisco, California to Auckland, New Zealand. Marin and I were psyched to settle in to our plush seats and catch some zzzzs on this 13-hour leg of our 36-hour journey. Upon entering the plane and making our way to our seats, we discovered two things: the seats were not plush and the man sitting in the seat in front of Marin snored loudly and had reclined in his less than plush seat prior to take off, leaving us little to no leg room. In addition, we thought it would be wise to provide ourselves with some in-flight entertainment. We each downloaded the acclaimed flick, Inception, (at 14.99 a pop each time), only to discover that Air New Zealand offers a wide variety of current films including Inception. Of course, we have yet to watch the movie.

Here’s Marin trying not to pass out:

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Upon arrival in Dunedin, we were greeted by the lovely clerk at Nationwide Car Rental. As she loaded us into our vehicle and was just about to send us off after an expository speech about the technical nuances of the emergency break, she suddenly looked up and asked, “ But where’s all your luggage???” Nikki felt proud in that moment – first time anyone ever asked her that! Marin muttered, “Bag got lost somewhere between JFK and Auckland.”

Off we went, driving on the left side of the road in our 2001 Nissan. The driving on the left is not the hard part. What was tricky then, and still continues to be tricky 3 days later, is re-training your brain and your muscles to remember that the blinkers are now on the right and the windshield wipers are now on the left. Also, up with the blinkers is now left and down with the blinkers is now right. So basically, every time we turn, in addition to a radical swerve to ensure that we’re not careening into oncoming traffic, we go through a series of mishaps involving turning the blinker on in the wrong direction and then turning the windshield wipers on and off several times and then changing the blinker to the right direction (wipers still wiping…speed changing in a desperate attempt to flick the correct switch before getting in a head-on collision). It is a true comedy of errors every time we have to make a turn – luckily the roads are very long here. We want to video this – it’s pure comedy -- but seeing as we opted to decline the rental car insurance, we’d better not…

Here’s Nikki navigating us out of the airport like a pro:

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More coming soon! XOXO Marin and Nikki

Posted by Marbert18 22:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged travel driving flights Comments (0)

Planes, Planes and Planes

We made it out of our apartment...but will we make it to New Zealand?

The time has come! We fly tomorrow at 11 AM. Due to the terrible situation in Christchurch, we had to make some adjustments. Our options from the airline were to cancel our trip and re-book within the year, or pay $492 per person to re-route. Not so much. So we had to get a bit creative.

Our new and "improved" plan is:

1. Fly NYC to San Francisco (4.5 hours)
2. Layover in SF for 4 hours
3. Fly San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand (15 hours)
4. Layover in Auckland for 1.5 hours
5.. Fly Auckland, New Zealand to Christchurch, New Zealand (2 hours)
6, Layover in Christchurch for 3.5 hours. Pick up bags and re-check in for last flight...
4. Fly Christchurch, NZ to Dunedin, NZ (1 hour flight)

Yep, that's right, we've done the math. If all goes perfectly, we're looking at 31.5 hours of travel time. Plus, we cross the date-line so we'll be skipping an entire day in the air. I still don't understand how any of this works but I suppose I will be learning soon enough!

We have a place to stay reserved in Dunedin and a car booked as well...so once we arrive, we are hoping to zip right to our spot and take a big nap. We'll post again when we wake up!

xoxo Marin and Nikki

Posted by Marbert18 13:05 Archived in USA Tagged travel flights Comments (4)

Pretty much the only fun thing about moving

==Before==:

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==After==:

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==Behold==:

This is pretty much
a) the one thing i have enjoyed about packing/moving so far
b) the one thing i have managed to do to 100% completion (so please, for my sake, no comments on how wrinkled everything will be)

Posted by Marbert18 06:29 Archived in USA Tagged packing moving Comments (1)

Thoughts and Prayers

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people and city of Christchurch. We also feel very blessed that we did not get our act together to travel any earlier than we did.

Family, we will be changing our itinerary -- no longer flying into Christchurch, I'm afraid. Will likely look into flying into Dunedin instead and exploring the south coast of the South Island a bit. We're going to give things a day or two, and then get in touch with airline, hotel, etc. Keep you updated as plans progress.

xoxo Marin and Nik

Posted by Marbert18 07:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand christchurch earthquake Comments (0)

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