The first port of call on our New Zealand cruise was Dunedin. This is the countries oldest city, being settled by Maoris four centuries ago. In 1848 Scottish migrants established a settlement here and gave it the Celtic name for Edinburgh, which was Dunedin. In 1861 gold was discovered, bringing wealth to the city, which resulted in Victorian and Edwardian buildings which are well preserved today.
The ship docked at Port Chalmers and a shuttle bus took us into Dunedin. We were armed with a map and bus information, so soon found our bus stop for our chosen destination, the botanical garden. There, we spend several peaceful hours in the warm sunshine, exploring through a variety of settings, admiring the native and exotic plants. It was early spring, so there was an abundance of flowers. The rhododendrons were particularly spectacular, waterfalls of pink blooms. We listened to strange birds and our eyes soaked up the “Greenness” and the colours of the place, after days of blue sea!
Back to the city centre, and there was time to look round the shops. I was impressed by a craft market, and purchased my first souvenir, a small ceramic plaque with an imprint of a fern, typical of the country.
As the cruise ship left and passed the Otago headland. I was disappointed to miss a trip there to see nesting albatross, so was thrilled that we sailed close enough to see good views of the nesting birds through binoculars.