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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

New Zealand: Dunedin

The Moeraki boulders
The Moeraki boulders

On the way to Dunedin, I made an overnight stop at Waikouaiti – home to a beautiful little beach where I played my guitar and tried to play my harmonica, much to the delight of the local wildlife – and in the morning I headed south of Oamaru to the Moeraki Boulders.

Delightful Dunedin

When I arrived in Dunedin I met up with Mac, the local Acorn dealer, who turned out to be a real find. Mac is an ex-pat Englishman who, along with his delightful wife Gill, has spent his life in all sorts of interesting places, such as the Bahamas (where he was an air traffic controller), Australia and now New Zealand. They live in the countryside – and by the countryside I mean the middle of absolutely nowhere, in a tiny village called Owaka, population about 380, some 120km southwest of Dunedin – in a beautiful house that is mostly self-built. They heat the house via a radiator from a solid fuel range in the kitchen, which also doubles as an Aga-type cooker; they grew everything in their beautiful one-acre garden from seed, from trees to hedges to flowers; they brought up their three children in the country, against the problems of low income, harsh weather and a depressed job market; they're both qualified teachers and are very well educated; and they're wonderful company.

Dunedin Folk

For the only night that Mac and Gill couldn't put me up, I was offered a room in the Cable Court Hotel in Dunedin. As luck would have it, the night I was there coincided with the hotel's Christmas party, to which all residents were, naturally, invited. So there was the marquee in the car park – with a stack of chilled beers as big as an alcoholic's wet dream, and a barbecue on the side – crammed with people from all sorts of places, as well as a large number of locals who knew the proprietors, and to cap it all, it was all free (even the room, as Mac's company was paying for my luxury accommodation).