Friday, 18 February 2011

The steepest street in the world and Dunedin / Otago Peninsula

South Island to Otago

New Zealand likes to claim longest, highest, nicest things etc and one of these is “The Steepest Street in the World as verified by the Guinness Book of Records”.

Baldwin Street Sign

Baldwin Street in Dunedin is seriously steep with a gradient of 1 in 2.82 at its steepest point.

Steepest Street Steepest Street Standing

If you try to stand upright, you have a serious lean with respect to the road surface.

Dunedin is famous for its Railway Station and it certainly is quite a building.

Dunedin Station

Everything about it is Victorian although there are a few Art Deco bits as well such as in some wall tiling.

Dunedin Tile 

Freeze Dunedin Station

A detail from the freeze above a booking office.

The platform says “Victorian” in every thing

Dunedin Railway Station

the floor tiles show the wealth of the area in those times

Dunedin Floor

this is the mosaic floor in the foyer to the station (725,000 tiles)

Railway Floor Logo

Dunedin Floor-2 

and the stairs have the monogram of New Zealand Railways on every tread.

We went on a walking tour of the city with “City Walks” which was a good way to gently find out about the city, its history and architecture. Although the walk was scheduled to last two hours, it lasted longer because the guide was not hurrying us around and was prepared to try to answer any question.

Dunedin improved in our estimation whilst we were there. Its history is interesting and that is still reflected in many of its buildings. Religion has played a great part in the history of the town and hence there are lots of churches.

The inside of the Anglican Church is more interesting than the exterior in that an addition was added in the 1960’s and also the original Willis Organ was remodelled into something modern.

Willis Organ DunedinAnglican Church Dunedin

The interior design of the Presbyterian Church emphasises

Presbyterian Church Dunedin-1

how important the Sunday sermon was in that if you

Presbyterian Church Dunedin

stand in the pulpit, you see very long rows of pews ready to seat the faithful.

Amongst the nicer buildings are:

Building 3 DunedinBuilding 4 Dunedin Dunedin Building 1 Dunedin Building 2

Old Savoy Dunedin

this being where the Savoy Cafe used to be – a popular venue in the 1960s.

Row of Houses Dunedin

This lovely row of old houses was threatened with demolition recently but public pressure has saved them. As usual, there are quite a lot of horrid modern buildings. 

The Otago Peninsula is a spit of land sticking out into the sea a few kms to the east of Dunedin. There are two driving routes, the high one which is terrifying for the passenger because it runs along the top of the peninsula mountain ridge on

Dunedin Sound 1

Dunedin Sound 2

very narrow roads and has to be taken very slowly but has a great view and the coastal route which is somewhat easier. We went out on the high route and back on the coastal which still has great views like this one from Portobello as the sun goes down.

Portobello Bay

(It also a Fish and Chip Shop which has been voted 6th best in New Zealand). The road presents a number of

Road Hazard

unusual driving hazards such as this tree which was too nice to be cut down so they diverted the road around it.

The peninsula is also home to the only castle in New Zealand called Larnach Castle– it is not actually a castle, more a country house built by a very rich person (gold

Larnach Castle

wealth) and recently restored. The wealth brought with it three wives, numerous children and unhappiness culminating in the suicide of the first owner in the late 1800s. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the house so here are some of the garden

Gnome in Garden

a gnome taking a rest

Castle Garden-3

this will be rather nice when it has finished growing

Castle Garden-1

the plants above (and below) all come from the Pacific region

Castle Garden

and have been beautifully laid out in a rock garden. My opinion is that the house is interesting but the garden is better and that tickets at $27 each are over priced.

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