23. Te Anau – Dunedin

Sunday, March 5: Partly cloudy to begin with, with some unusual lenticular cloud over the Otago Plains, increasing in the course of the afternoon

Mike’s ($39, airbnb)

No need for the alarm clock this morning (which had been set for 6:30) because a biker decided he had to rev up in the car park. Breakfast was OJ, coffee, two pieces of toast with vegemite; made two rounds of ham sandwiches for lunch, and packed them with an apple & the milk into the top of the backpack. Everything else was neatly distributed in the suitcase which I got to close despite it weighing nearly 30 kg, and after combing the room for anything else I might have left behind, took out the rubbish, then rolled my suitcase out to the front of the reception just before 7:30 to await my taxi. He was pretty much on time so I was at the bus stop with time to spare.

The bus stops along the way today were Gore and Peggydale just before Balclutha. Not much commentary from the driver, but plenty of greenish fields and hills densely populated with sheep and cattle. The loo in Gore was inside the the service station opposite the bus stop, which necessitated a queue. In Peggydale I had my lunch, finished off the milk, and had a look around the shop. This sort of bus trip is quite comfortable, with a little over an hour sitting in the bus and a couple of longer stops to get out and walk around at. Stopped at the airport to exchange a couple of passengers and then it was into town where the Intercity/Ritchies terminal is somewhere out the back of the station. Dragged my case into the town centre proper, identified a bus stop which could get me to Mike’s and had a 15 minute wait which extended for another 10 minutes (city bus fare for one adult: $3.4). Plenty of students about recounting their Saturday night escapades and George St is very full.

About 10 minutes into the bus ride I recognised the end of George St, the street signs for North Rd/Bank St and the supermarket which is closest to Mike’s so I got off. Asked a group of women where the Opoho Road was and it confirmed my guess that I had to go straight ahead. In next to no time I was at the appointed address, greeted by Mike’s open door.

He wanted to go off & listen to some music in the Botanical Gardens which are just across the road, but first I got the wifi password off him. The first few attempts at connecting to the internet didn’t seem to work until I switched the computer off & on again (had tried the same with his wireless router to no avail). There was a message from Peter in FB, but not much else.

Went out for an extended walk along the North Road and then a little way into town, returning via the supermarket. New World have a club card, and even a temporary one on request for tourists which for some reason I went without even asking the “friendly staff” about. Will have to try again tomorrow. Came back here for a shower & then took off to an Indian place that looked quite reasonable (Indian Spice, 11 North Rd, Dunedin, 9010) – chicken tikka (in lieu of the tandoori chicken I had wanted, and not as an entree but as a full meal) – with mixed pickles (very hot), rice, mint sauce & naan as part of the parcel for $19 – very filling, and, perhaps, a bit of a contribution to the 72 kg I put on Mike’s scales.