Picture
The surf beaches around Otago are one of Dunedin’s greatest assets, although you need to invest in a thick wetsuit to make the most of them all year round. Out of peak traffic hours St Clair is only ten minutes drive from the Octagon, and it really is the South Island's mini Surfers Paradise.

Since the pioneers arrived people have been coming to the beach to recreate; however, it wasn’t until 1913 that the concrete Esplanade was built. Today, St Clair is a trendy and somewhat pricey suburb to live in. Geoff and I looked at a couple of houses out there which were waaaay beyond our budget.

At St Kilda, Marlow Park has a dinosaur slide, snake swing set and sandcastle mole hill for the littlies and not so littlies to play on. There is also a scale road map laid out on a tar sealed area. Here, ‘younguns’ can learn about road signs while they ride their bikes through mock intersections, traffic lights and roundabouts.

Barnes Lookout gives you a good view northwards and if you wander out to Second Beach you can gain the best perspective of how see St Clair melds into Middle Beach, St Kilda and the Otago Peninsula beyond Lawyers Head.

The ‘Head’ does look decidedly like a male profile with a wig on. I wonder about the sense of humour of the city's founding fathers as the original sewage outlet was from underneath it, were they suggesting that lawyers spout faecal matter? Who knows... What I do know is that Geoff and I plan to make regular visits to enjoy the luscious beach side cafes, salt water pool, and most importantly the waves which are closely watched over by the very active St Clair Surf Club.

Picture
 
 
Picture
My stone after Steve had polished it.
Aotea stone is found only around Jacobs River (Te Awa Makaawhio) and Bruce Bay (Mahitahi), on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. In European terms it is a mixture of Kyanite and Fuchsite in a Quartz matrix. The presence of Chromium also adds to the distinctive distinctive green colour. It is known as Poohatu Aotea byTe Runangua Makaawhio the local Maori tribe, and it has always been highly prised.

Two weeks ago I was walking down the beach at Bruce Bay contemplating the move to Dunedin, and hoping that my emotional stuffing wouldn’t fall out. I felt like the statues in my inner temple of sanity were about to topple over.... when I saw the stone at my feet and somehow everything seemed alright (cliché, cliché, cliché).

I took the stone back to Franz Josef and Steve Henry our local carver polished it for me. We decided to leave one side rough,  and polish up the flip side...yin and yang. Steve also made sure that the stone stayed true to its original form, just the way I found it.

In mystical terms Kyanite is one of the few minerals that never needs cleaning or clearing. As far as I can work out Aotea stone has an essence of sacred healing and brings harmony and commonality within the self and others. It ‘heals the Goddess within and the Goddess without’, working to bring both love and beauty to the exterior and interior. It also acts as a magnetic attraction between kindred spirits. As the healing process evolves the wearer is said to resonates with the universe and help ‘earth healing ‘.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to save the world yet, but, the move to Dunedin feels like Geoff and I made the right decision.

Picture
Walking along Bruce Bay, just before I found the stone.
 
 
Picture
Waiatoto River Safari really was a safari! We travelled 23 kilometres up the Waitoto with Jimmy our driver. Stopping only to learn about whitebaiting  ($110 a kg, but $100,000 a stand), the Haast Tokoeka kiwi, how the river got the name River of Blood and the stories of the early settlers in the area.

The jet boat was specially designed for the Waiatoto River by Neil Ross former National and world champion jet boat driver, and unlike other jet boat rides in New Zealand Jimmy did not have to ‘pretend’ to go near the rocks. We zipped through the rock garden in The Gorge and all the ricks were right there!

The
Hamilton Turns gave me face ache from smiling, and a cruise up the Hinely, one of New Zealand’s most peaceful waterways finished the trip off nicely. This is New Zealand’s only Alps to the Coast jet boat trip and I highly rate it. Don’t go through Haast without checking it out then stopping of for the best fish and chips on the Coast at the Cray Pot, Jackson Bay

Picture
 
 
Picture
Gavin, the skipper of the Takatahi Bell, is a true West Coaster, his Mum moved here in 1869 with her parents to set up a shop for gold miners and his Dad’s father helped build the Otira Tunnel.

The Lake Mahinapua cruise is a trip back in time, following the waterway which once linked Hokitika and Ross. Meeting a white heron up close and personal was just an added bonus. I couldn’t believe that 300-400 miners used to travel this waterway every day and that there were once saw mills, flax mills and a gold dredge along the Mahinapua Creek!


Picture