After more rain, we awoke in Te Anau and had a warm breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast with more Manuka Honey. The eggs here are incredibly fresh and the sausage is hand-made in the groceries as well. Coffee in hand it was time to cross the country again from the west and the Tasman Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean. The drive would take us about 4 hours.
Today was a beautiful mix of agriculturally-based landscapes. Farms of animals....sheep/lamb, beef, and venison. Yes, they have deer farms here. It's spring, so kidding central. Most sheep/lamb had 1 to 2 babies close by in the fields. We noted most of the calves had been separated from the heifers already and were in separate pastures closer to the home/barn. Another huge industry in this area was timber. The trees grow really fast here, so on the hills were large groves just planted, growing, ready for harvest, or having been harvested and now they were clear-cutting and burning the stumps, preparing to re-plant. Ally did some research and found 45% of the land in New Zealand is utilized for agriculture. Impressive!
And we can tell you in all of our travels it is one of the most environmentally friendly countries. All of our takeaway (carry-out) containers have been recyclable. All our take away utensils have been bamboo. There is never a trash bin without a recycling receptacle right beside it and usually multiple (plastic, paper, glass, and aluminum/metal). And we have noticed environmentally friendly things in the US like steel straws or hydro flask type containers that are super expensive there are much more affordable here.
Today we drove to the port town of Dunedin. We arrived just before 2PM and found parking was horrendous near the city center. Luckily another kind RV'er pulled out of their spot and blocked a bunch of parked cars while they routed their next stop, so we could get a spot. The first time we've paid for parking, but only $5 for the day.
We booked a tour of Ocho
, a hand-crafted chocolate factory, that is exploding thanks in large to a crowd-funding that raised 2 million NZD in 48 hours after the local Cadbury plant closed. Started by a local artist/journalist, Liz Rowe, the community is quite behind it and they can hardly keep up with national demand and do not export yet. They source all their cocoa beans from farmers in the Pacific Islands. Every step of the process is done by hand, even to the wrapping of the bars and sticking of the labels. At the end of the factory tour, our guide took us through a tasting, which had us trying cocoa beans from field to finish and then we compared their chocolates against commercial chocolate. WOW! What a difference. And which lucky family members are getting this incredible treat for the holidays.
Afterward, we walked into town and through/past the famous railroad station
. Up at the city center, we were disappointed as it felt like we were in Italy as all stores close at 4PM and most restaurants were closed between 3-5/6. And of course, when did we get there...4:30. The farmers market was also packing up. There was some nice architecture with Scottish and European influence.
We tucked into another Top 10
for the evening. This one is probably our least favorite thus far. So excited to have a heated pool the kids found it locked and empty. The kitchen and amenities were a little more run down and smaller. But we have an early morning date with the east coast, so the kids played on the trampoline, while Dad and Mom fixed dinner. A quick game of Scrabble, homework, and then some Lolly Cake
and off to bed.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends in the US!