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We ported in Chalmers, and came ashore to a chilly, rainy day. A perfect day for a train ride! We boarded the Taieri Gorge Railway, a historic stretch of the Otago Central Railway, and wound our way through the rocky countryside. Most of the time we followed the Taieri River, dipping into the Taieri Gorge.
The train cars were vintage, and our host and hostess were incredibly kind and entertaining – wonderful ambassadors for their country and completely consistent with the level of kindness and consideration we experienced with every Kiwi.
On board, we sipped mimosas as we watched the countryside glide by, ate a surprisingly delicious box lunch (including wine from Montana, the winery Mom, Dad and I toured!).
After the beautiful train ride we boarded buses and visited Larnach Castle. We had a great guided tour of the house, and heard the sad story of the family who first lived there (read more via the links here). We had time to explore the house and grounds, and I spent a good amount of time on the roof (accessed via a very tight steep stairway) enjoying the near-360° ocean view. The castle and grounds were beautiful and reminded me a bit of Linderhof Palace. Less grand, of course, but a similar feel: grand palace in miniature, beautiful grounds.
That evening we went to Aunt Pat and Uncle Denny’s cabin for wine, and I brought some appetizers from the buffet. From their balcony we could see a bagpiper and drummer playing our farewell down on the dock (Dunedin is very Scottish)! We had dinner in the Santa Fe – I had an AMAZING Thai rice crème brûlée with lime sorbet.