Friday, March 1, 2013

Vacations 2013 - Dunedin, NZ - A train ride and Men in Kilts

For our day in Dunedin, we had wanted to take the Taieri Gorge Railway. Booking privately was definitely cheaper than booking through the cruise ship.  Unfortunately that was not an option for us based on the times the train departed and the times our ship was there (at least according to the online schedule).  Unfortunately, all of the Taieri Gorge Railway shore excursions were booked as well, so we weren't sure we would get to go on the train at all.  We put ourselves on the waiting list and hadn't heard anything.  About 2 days before we reached Dunedin, they did call and tell us there were some spots available, but only for the train trip and not the shore excursion we had waitlisted ourselves on, which also included a trip to Lanarch Castle.  We wanted to do the train, so we signed up for the excursion.

Cruise ship at the dock near Dunedin, NZ

Some of the scenery and a view of the engines

They raise thoroughbreds in the Dunedin region

I like the picture of the train on one of the trestles

More of the scenery

A view of the inside of our car.  I believe our car was the 1920's.  I don't think the flourescent lights are original to the car.  Of all the cars I peaked into, I liked ours best, and it was quite comfortable.  We were also fed morning tea, beverages, and lunch on the train ride.

Another view of one of the trestles we crossed

You can see the river in this picture.

The train ride picked us up right at the dock and went through some beautiful country.  If you are able to book your own tickets, though, I would recommend the cheaper option.  We did get back to town a bit before we had to be back on the ship (although the ship was docked a little ways from town so we had to take a shuttle bus back from the dock).  In town, the were having some sort of festival or competition.  There were several Pipe and Drum bands around performing at the octagon and practicing around the Octagon.  They also had a free wi-fi tent set up near the ship, but we did not get back in enough time to utilize it much.
The train station
A pipe and drum band performing at the octagon

Another pipe and drum band

A couple more pipe and drum bands practicing
Interesting Fact:  Dunedin is home to the steepest street in the world - Baldwin street.  We did not get a chance to visit it.

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