Disappointing is the only way to describe Dunedin for us. Unfortunately we expected so much from this city but got nothing in return. Maybe we missed something and that’s why our visit to this city fell short of expectations? Or maybe we just honestly expected too much.
The disappointment started on the drive from Moeraki. As usual we took the scenic route (as everyone should because all of them are absolutely beautiful). While this drive was scenic it was absolutely nauseating. I have a tendency to get car sick, carnival ride sick, boat sick, anything really with up and down side to side movements will get the best of my stomach. Andy of course was having a blast driving on a road that winds through the hillside and takes the van up and down like a roller coaster. Pale in the face and praying for my body to keep everything down we crested over the gigantic hill in to Dunedin.
It was a serious relief to give my stomach a rest of the twist and turns. Wrong again. Dunedin’s streets are full of twists and turns, ups and downs. We have come to the conclusion there are basically no straight roads in New Zealand.
It was way too early to check in to the camp site so we checked trip adviser and decided on visiting the aquarium. Guess what…it’s a twenty minute drive that meanders along the side of a giant hill and the ocean. RIP Stomach.
I managed to keep my nauseated self in check for the whole drive there. Upon arrival the disappointment of Dunedin continued. We arrived to find a nice sign that stated,
“Closed due to potential Earthquake.”
Twenty minutes of additional nausea with no reward. Now twenty minutes back.
By the end I was in tears ready to curl up in fetal position and die. Andy knowing me better than anyone else fed me and a bit of happiness returned at once.
The disappointment gained momentum when we arrived at our camp site. At first it was great, big facilities that were clean and well secured with padlocks. At second glance it was too secured to the point the camp site didn’t even trust their own patrons. The kitchens, TV room, and laundry were all closed down and locked at 9 pm sharp and the kitchens were cleaned between 10 am-11 am so you weren’t permitted to use them during that time. The kitchens had no pots and pans, no bowls and only butter knives to eat with. The TV remote was encased in wood and screwed down below the TV with holes for the channels, volume and power button. The laundry was $12 for a wash and dry on a single load. There were also two kitchens one of which was closed for a private function (we think that’s where all the silver ware actually was).
The Chinese Gardens was fueled the disappointment fire. While it was beautiful and took you from NZ to China, it was $9 to enter and took about five minutes to walk through, there were also no koi fish in the pond so seaweed and moss had overgrown the bottom of the water making it murky and quite unpleasant. For that price it was not a great bang for our buck by any means.
There was one thing that wasn’t fully disappointing. Cadbury World. Cadbury has a factory in Dunedin that supplies most of NZ with their chocolate supply.
Chocolate itself never disappoints.
The full factory tour however is nothing like Charlie and the Chocolate factory and there is no chocolate river (they do have a giant one ton chocolate waterfall though but no you cannot eat any of it or dip fruit in it, much to our additional disappointment). A factory tour is a factory tour. There is nothing spectacular about it, how you imagine it is exactly how it is. The only good part of the factory tour is along the way they give you free chocolate, which we noticed was close to its expiry date so the people taking the tour are doing the factory a favour by taking their close to expired products.
The best part of it honestly was the hair nets that were required. It was like a group of lunch ladies were on break walking around the factory. Andy was also required to wear a beard snoot for his barely there facial hair. He looked like a skinny Santa Clause. Unfortunately because there were no cameras aloud throughout the tour there is no photo evidence of Santa Andy (Maybe there will be another chance to see this grand sight).
At the end you get to purchase a plethora of chocolate for super cheap, and we mean CHEAP. We bought three 350g bars, three regular bars, some buttons and a chocolate smelling key chain for a whopping $31. Months supply of delicious chocolate for thirty bucks? We’re in!
But there is no need to take the tour to get access to such a deal, the store is available to the general public. So just walk on in and buy some chocolate for yourself and just skip the tour unless you want some almost expired free chocolate which technically you paid for when paying for the tour which was around $44 for both of us.
All the other activities in Dunedin were so expensive they weren’t ideal for backpackers to spend their money on, unless you’re keen on spending a minimum of $60 to see some albatrosses, and even then you aren’t guaranteed to see any.