Monday, January 7, 2013

Dunedin 1/5/2013

We prepared for cool weather in New Zealand, only to find today’s temperature would be
82 degrees F. We may yet hit cool weather, but for now the sweaters remain in the suitcase.

Today we took the first of two train rides to explore parts of the South Island of New Zealand. In Dunedin, we embarked on the “Taieri Gorge Railway Experience”. We began our journey when we boarded the train, which waiting for us at the pier. We traveled alongside the Otago Harbor and turned inland to pass the city of Dunedin. From there we passed the fertile farmland of the Taieri plains and began climbing into the Taieri Gorge, which is only accessible by train. As we climbed higher we had beautiful views of sheer cliff faces and dramatic ravines that frame the tranquil Taieri River. We traveled through long tunnels and crossed the Wingatui Viaduct, one of the largest wrought iron structures in the southern hemisphere. As we neared the highest point of our climb, the mountains that we will be riding through tomorrow came into view.  I think that the pictures, rather than my words best describe the views from the train.

On the return trip we were served a light lunch and offered champagne, fruit juice, New Zealand’s Speight’s beer or bottled New Zealand artesian water. Our final stop before returning to the ship was at the Dunedin Railway Station, a destination in it’s own right because of its Victorian architecture and stunning waiting room.

Ticket booth
Every year Jon, and occasionally I have gone rafting down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. The final section of that trip is through a canyon, which is accessible only by water. As we have traveled through the canyon I have often wondered what the view would be, looking down onto the river instead of being upon it. I couldn’t help but think of this as we spent so much of today gazing down upon a river which was far below us.

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