Christchurch to Invercargill

Before leaving Christchurch we took a drive up the earthquake ravaged highway to Kaikoura. Surprisingly we were able to get through, apart from the occasional detour, and what really impressed us is the work that's been completed to clean up the various landslides along the road. The rail line has been devastated and it will no doubt be months/years before it can be used again. The beachside town of Kaikoura itself has picked up the pieces and moved on, but sadly most of the motels appeared to be empty - even at school holiday time.

From Christchurch we headed south to Dunedin, and we both fell in love with it! We had visited the city a few years back, just for a day, but our time here allowed us to really see the beauty of the Otago Peninsula, the white sand beaches and three very special attractions.

Our journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway took us from Dunedin to Pukerangi and back on a four hour journey through wild and wonderful landscapes, 10 tunnels and several ancient bridges and viaducts. The trip reminded us of the West Coast Wilderness Railway from Strahan to Queenstown in south-west Tasmania and was a very relaxing way to spend the day.

Larnach Castle is a real 'castle' built in the 1870s and set amongst acres of manicured lawns and gardens. The interior is gradually being restored and the story behind the man behind the castle (William Larnach) is both remarkable and tragic. The views from the turret and the keep are nothing short of spectacular.

But it was Olveston House that won our hearts. Following a huge climb up incredibly steep hills from the CBD, we reached the sanctuary of the shady gardens in what turned out to be the hottest day this summer (28C). And it was worth the climb! The house is amazing, beautifully furnished and packed full of curios from around the world. Once the family, who built the house in the late 1800s, had passed on, the house was left to the people of Dunedin - and left exactly as it was. The sense of history you feel as you walk through the rooms is a little eerie and unfortunately we can't show you as photographs are now allowed inside.

We stayed at the Edgeley B&B on the Otago Peninsula overlooking the ocean. Our hosts, Tracey and Jason and their children Sophie and Lachlan, moved south from Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake when their house was destroyed, and have made Dunedin their home. The B&B is an enormous 1890s two storey house furnished in antique style. They made us feel so welcome as we shared a meal, good conversation and a few laughs with them. We also had great food at the restaurants Salt and The Spirit House in nearby St Clair Beach and saw the steepest residential street in the world - Baldwin Street.

From Dunedin we headed south to Invercargill at the bottom of the south island. This summer the locals have experienced unprecedented rain in what is normally their dry season, so the landscape is a patchwork of vivid greens broken only by manicured conifer hedges and, of course, sheep!


  1. Hi Penny & Jim,

    All very breathtaking; especially the railway bridge that looks rather "shifty"!

    Keep up the good pleasure,


  2. Look very much like the UK, particularly Olveston House. We lived in Chirk in North Wales and our house backed onto the grounds of Chirk Castle. This all looks very much like the landscapes of the UK including the viaducts. NZ was on my bucket list now these places are too.

    1. Its all very English, the green, the gardens, the building styles, etc. But there's a lot of Tassie here too!


Post a Comment