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(Feb 17, 2003) Dunedin -- Pronounced: Do-Knee-Din. 

Population: 3,864,129 per 2001 census.

Located in the southeast of the South Island on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin has the distinction of being settled by Scottish pioneers. Its name is, in fact, the Gaelic word for Edinburgh. Originally a Maoris settlement, Dunedin was first discovered by European whalers in the early 1800's. By 1848 a group of Scots settled there, escaping religious persecution in their homeland. Like Christchurch, the city was surveyed and laid out before the colonists arrived, which gives it a neat and tidy air.

With the discovery of gold came thousands of prospectors and the township more than doubled to 5,000 residents. The Scots, realizing that the boom would one day come to an end, turned their thoughts to the future. Many of New Zealand's biggest manufacturers, importers, commercial and transport forms can trace their origins to early Dunedin.

The rapid growth of the region around the turn of the century left Dunedin with the largest concentration of Victorian and Edwardian buildings outside of Britain. It is considered to be the best preserved Victorian city in the world. It's also home to New Zealand's oldest university. Today there is little manufacturing in the city. Their largest business is education! Students from all over the world attend the universities known for their ongoing research endeavors.

Our ship docked at Port Chalmers, located approximately 7 1/2 miles from Dunedin. Our intent on this day was to tour the Botanic Gardens of Dunedin. However, it was raining and continued to do so all day. We changed our mind and decided on taking a bus tour instead. While the bus tour was interesting it didn't make many provisions for taking pictures.

Port Chalmers is a primary export point for timber. We watched trucks continually bringing logs to the port for unloading. As part of the process, the logs were taken while in port, to a machine that stripped the bark from them. The bark is exported as a plant mulch.

To the right are piles of sawdust created by the saws cutting them into square posts and uniform lengths. The destination for the wood is China where it is used to make all sorts of things--most likely souvenirs of New Zealand. Logging is a primary industry. As the trees are cut they are replanted making them a renewable resource as we do in the U.S.

On the other side of the ship we watched freighters being loaded. The only part of the superstructure of the ship shown is the tall white portion. All of the rest are boxcar like containers stacked upon each other. They are pinned and keyed to each other to keep them in alignment. When the ship is finally loaded they are additionally cross braced with cable to keep them together as a unit. Otherwise, they would likely tip over and fall into the ocean if the ship encountered rough seas.

The oldest church in Dunedin is located at Port Chalmers. If you look past the stern of the ship (right photo) you can see it nestled on the hillside. It is made of the same stone as we saw in Christchurch. The roof shingles are also made of stone.

We were allowed a 10 minute stop to take pictures of this home. It dates back to when Dunedin was first born. The person who owned and built it was a family who developed an international trade with products then produced in the city.

One of the oldest, but no longer used, building is this train station. The reason it is no longer used is due to the nonexistence of passenger rail travel.

After the bus tour we decided to get off of the bus and walk around the town a bit. We found it interesting that K-Mart in the U. S. is closing stores. However, in Dunedin this K-Mart is a newly opened store. If you look at the left picture you can see the K-Mart sign hanging from the canopy just over the white car. The picture on the right is the entrance to the store located inside the building. It is part of a series of stores, similar to an enclosed mall. The entrance to the mall is through the meridian entrance.

After walking around the town for an hour or so we decided to take the Princess shuttle bus back to the ship. The constant rain sort of ruined the day. We learned later that it was the forefront of a big storm that was coming toward us from Australia. When we left port that evening the sea was beginning to get a bit rough.

Note in the right photo. The wave in the center of the picture is actually the Pilot's boat coming to our ship to retrieve him.

The nest morning we arrived at Fiordland National Park. The Fiords were similar, although not as tall as we saw in Alaska. There are two channels where a ship such as our could enter and cruise into them. We did enter the first and took a 10 mile cruise through the channel that surrounded one of the mountains. Since it rained the entire way we sat in the windowed dome and watched the scenery as it passed. Although it was dry the constant noise from the slot machines sort of got on our nerves.

We looked forward to the next entrance as it is larger and longer than the first entrance. The Pilot came  aboard at the first entrance and would disembark when our ship exited the channel. (The Pilot is an official who always guides a ship into a harbor, in this case the channel entrance to the fiord.) However, the winds and waves grew to such a magnitude that the Captain and Pilot decided it was too dangerous to enter. 

We learned the next day that the Pilot was unable to get off of our ship onto the boat that came out to retrieve him. The wind and waves were so severe that he was unable to safely get off of our onto his. No sooner would the deck of his boat approach our departure platform than it would plunge 10 - 12 feet away from him--either sideways or down or both. He had to stay aboard until we reached Australia two days later.

No one went swimming on this crossing. Note that the water has been drained from the swimming pool. It kept sloshing over the edge. Both pools were drained. For some reason they left the hot tubs full and running but few used them.

As we crossed the Tasman Sea we got caught in a unique event. With the strong near hurricane winds and the strong cross currents it made for a rough crossing. The floor shows that had been scheduled for the evening were rescheduled for a later day. In their place were placed a show that had been scheduled for a later day. When we saw the shows that were cancelled we could understand why the decision was made. They were acrobatic performances that just couldn't have been done on a pitching floor without causing great danger to the performer.

Next stop: Hobart, Tasmania--the southernmost island that is part of Australia.

Next Stop: Tasmania, Australia

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Last modified:    April 2013