A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

To Otago

On Saturday we headed south from Twizel through Omarama and Otematata to Oamaru and Dunedin.

We saw many amazing vistas but this one was one of the most dramatic, looking down on one of the hydro lakes.

South of Omarama we travelled alongside what is variously the Waitaki River, Lake Benmore and Lake Aviemore. Great fishing for trout and salmon, apparently, but we saw a few waterskiers, jetskiers and biscuitskiers as well.

We detoured to see the Benmore Hydro Power Station, second only to Manapouri in size, but notwithstanding its industrial nature, it is still within a stunning setting, as these shots from the bottom and the top of the project show.

We are a little early for the true autumn colours but the poplars are just starting to turn, so we may yet see some more colours in another week or so.

Meanwhile, we noticed several instances of apple trees planted on public land, so we garnered a few for later.

Pip the eternal forager…

At Waikaura, near Duntroon, we stumbled across some ancient pre-European Maori rock carvings, perhaps not all quite that old as one of them looked very like a sailing ship. This one is probably a Taniwha.

Then we were in Oamaru, where we walked for a while in the heritage area and after that at the Blue Penguin nesting grounds. It was the wrong time of day for the penguins but there were plenty of seals, swimming or lying in the sun. Not for the first time, we wished we had longer to spend on this trip as we cannot do justice to many of these places in just an hour or two. But next time, perhaps…

Our final detours for the day were for Moeraki Beach and Moeraki Village. At the beach we marvelled at the Boulders, large rock spheres formed some 4 to 5 million years ago.

At Moeraki Village we found a restaurant called Fleur’s Place. This is the same Fleur that Hewitt recommended regarding Olivers in Clyde in an earlier comment on this blog, so we felt very fortunate that they were able to provide us with a Kai Moana takeaway platter of smoked fish, mussels, etc. We had it for dinner that night in our Dunedin motel and it was superb. Although Fleur’s name was new to me, Pip knew of her reputation as well. And Hewitt and Pip both clearly know what they are talking about – Rick Stein is on record as saying “While in New Zealand I hope to do two things – visit Fleur’s Place in Moeraki and eat Bluff Oysters”. This is something else Rick and I have in common, and I will be in Bluff for this very purpose in due course. (“Something else”? – yes, apparently he does quite a good spag bol, and so do I.)

Fleur’s Place, Moeraki

2 thoughts on “To Otago

  1. Hewitt Harrison

    Glad you were able to sample Fleur’s wares – while she no longer owns Olivers in Clyde I believe it still has a good reputation; and worth a visit just from the perspective of the buildings which were all run down when she and her (then) partner bought the complex and started on a massive renovation project. This was all back in the ’80s!! I spent the odd night or three there when on ‘business’ visits to Queenstown – many a glass of fine Red were enjoyed on such occasions….. If you have not booked accommodation might be worth spending a night there so you could also enjoy (without a conscience) a few glasses of Otago Pinot Noir as well as the cuisine?

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