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Day 10 : Monday 14th March 2005

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South to the Edinburgh of the South!

Today was our first day of driving, up until now we had only visited cities. We picked up the car at Avis in Christchurch city centre and then drove back and checked out of the hotel. Navigating our way out of Christchurch was fairly easy and we were soon on our way south towards our destination for today: Dunedin.

Everything went very smoothly until about an hour out of Christchurch, when I did something that I have never done before. I got a speeding fine . I had been clocked doing 117km/h on the long, flat, straight, open, empty road south of Christchurch. That is 17km/h or rather 10mph over the limit. The penalty for this? A $120 (50) fine . But in the end, I was doing the speed, so I have to accept it and to be fair the traffic policewoman was very nice about it. But not a good start to what would be a lot of driving on this holiday.

With this in mind, both me and my friend stuck rigidly to the limits all the way down to Dunedin and it therefore took the 5-6 hours that our taxi driver a couple of days earlier had predicted. We stopped briefly for lunch in the lovely town of Timaru, but only stayed long enough to grab a Subway sub and pay my speeding fine at a local bank!

We reached Dunedin in the late afternoon and had no trouble finding our hotel, which was very centrally placed and newly refurbished . It was only one block away from the Octagon, the (obviously) octagon shaped streets that form the centre of Dunedin. We decided to head out for a walk around the centre to see what we could see.

Dunedin is known as the Edinburgh of the South, originally founded by Scottish settlers and as if to reassure visitors of its heritage, there is a large statue in the centre of the Octagon of none other than Rabbie Burns! This is situated outside the Cathedral and Town Hall, both of which are fairly impressive structures. However, by far the most impressive building in Dunedin is unquestionably, and rather bizarrely, the railway station!

We had dinner in a restaurant on the central Octagon, the restaurant bestowed with amazing food, but unfortunately totally lacking in any (good) service whatsoever. We headed back to the hotel for a relatively early night, tired from the day's driving and mindful of the driving we still had ahead of us tomorrow.

Timaru and the drive south

Dunedin (including THAT railway station - last two photos!)