jen yu: new zealand 2007 - day 11

new zealand 2007 - day 11

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march 28, 2007
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Feeling essentially lousy, I packed up our belongings in between sips of hot tea before sunrise. We were to catch the ferry back to the mainland and at that point, I could have flown home. We checked out of the hotel and walked over to the ferry terminal. Upstairs, we discovered a café and purchased caffeine for Jeremy, juice for me, and a hot meat pie to split. It seemed all of the simple foods were very satisfying and the "fancy" meals were disappointing (and expensive) on this trip through New Zealand.

The crossing of Foveaux Straight was uneventful and smoother than the first trip. When we got to The Tomato, I passed out while Jeremy drove us to Dunedin with a short stop for Dimetapp for me, and a vanilla coke for him.

Arrival at the Garden Court Motel in Dunedin involved some confusion because there was no office (it was down the street at another motel) and when I contacted the proprietors by phone, there was no record of my reservation. That was squared away quickly though, as they had misfiled my booking in April and not March. We were given a free upgrade to a suite (don't get too excited, it's nothing fancy). The people were incredibly apologetic and sweet about the whole thing. Nice to be back on the mainland with the friendly kiwis!

Jeremy asked if I wanted to rest up before our flight home the next day (i.e. battle with the airlines), but I wanted to continue as originally planned. We picked up a quick burger in town and then drove to Cadbury World for the Cadbury Factory tour. It was interesting, and we all received samples of their confections, but it just didn't blow me away - even the 40-foot chocolate fall was a little contrived. Maybe if I had been 6 years old... Still, the trivia was pretty fascinating (Germans are the #1 consumers of chocolate per capita).

When the tour was over, we took a chance and drove out to the end of the Otago Peninsula to see if we could possibly catch the last tour at Penguin Place. Penguin Place is a yellow-eyed penguin conservation reserve. They lead tours throughout the day to bring visitors out to view yellow-eyed penguins in their colony. These are the third largest penguins in the world standing over 70 cm (2+ feet) tall. The drive took so much longer than we had anticipated and the fog was engulfing much of the coast. But we made it in time for the last tour and there were just 5 of us not including the guide. We took a bus out to the coast and walked trails to check on various nests. The reserve has an incredible network of hides and trenches for viewing the penguins without disturbing them. We saw so many! They aren't really afraid of people, but we were careful not to disturb them. Our guide told us that we actually saw many more penguins than most tours - probably over 20 in total.

On our return to Dunedin, we stopped in town for dinner at a sushi restaurant. I don't think it really deserves to be called a sushi restaurant, and the service was horrible, and I was pretty much done with the New Zealand food scene at that point.

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