Dunedin and Top Gun

Dunedin and Top Gun

Day 30.

Finally a city where the streets are not carved from an efficient chess board. Here in Dunedin there are also old (of New Zealand standards) buildings where people have cared about the exterior architecture. I start by going to the train station, where an old locomotive is displayed outside (difficult to take pictures of) – I really like these old locomotives of massive iron and machinery. At 2nd floor there is an art display of both photos and paintings – I prefer the photos of landscapes or iconic outdoor subjects like the Moeraki Boulders and there are several good ones. Next, I walk to the main street with many different shops and go for a quick view in the Otago Museum. A brief look inside a nearby church and then back to the city centre where some kind of town party is ongoing with people playing music and I meet several dressed in Scottish clothes. Another church close to the city center overlooking the plaza where people are assembled for this party or celebration. And just to get the plate full, I also visit an almost cathedral like church West of the city center – lots of churches in this city. I walk towards the train station again, where now the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is opened. It has several resemblances to the nicely installed and decorated Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington – must be some of the same people behind. There are displays of ethnographics, ships, automotive, but I also really like the reunion of the development within computers. It’s nice to revisit computers like Commodore C64 and Amiga 500 – lots of youth has been used on such 😉 There is also an old C64 computer game to try, the graphics and sound is terrible compared to today – but the gameplay and entertainment were just as good at those times. I finalize my Dunedin quick-view-around by visiting the Chinese Garden nearby – it’s fine but nothing special.

Next up is a big child’s dream – to pilot an aircraft. I had originally planned to go see seals, sea lions, penguins and maybe albatross, but when I realized that such opportunity is in Dunedin – the animals will have to wait for another day or time. I drive to the airport, and in a hangar, they have these small aircrafts for educating persons who want such a certificate. The office is pretty cool – all kind of manuals, diplomas, photos, and a small control center where you can hear the pilots and base talking together – thoughts on the Top Gun movie are not far away 😉 The instructor gets the airplane airborne to around 1500 feet, from where I get the control and can now bring it to 2000 feet with direction towards the coast. It’s a really perfect day with sunshine and no winds, so the airplane is very steady and reacts easily to the control. The view from up here is also good to the green hills and soon the coastline becomes visible. It’s actually quite easy (must be the hours in front of such computer games). The instructor also takes over and we go into a horizontal loop – I try and take photos of the ground and can easily feel that the phone is much heavier than normal due to the higher G-force. After a bit up and down the coastline and now in direction towards the airfield, the instructor gets the control for landing. One starts speculating if such a certificate could be an upcoming idea, but the economics in maintaining such a certificate and renting an airplane need to be considered.

I do a short stop at Baldwin Street, which is the steepest residential street in the world at 35% – and it is truly steep. Even going down is a small stretch for the knees – but this must be the coolest hill for sleds in the winter.

I drive further north to see the Moeraki Boulders, but first get a camp spot a bit north of the boulders. It’s currently high tide, so not the best moment to see the boulders which will be more covered in water. I’m considering walking the 2km down to them at night – also to see southern light and the stars. I wake up at 24:00 but do not feel for a walk along the coast – but I do get to take some photos of the stars. There is especially a band of stars (the Milky Way?) which looks amazing with this low light pollution – difficult to capture on even a Huawei phone. There is no southern light though, or maybe it’s not the right timing.

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