AOK Social Riders at Taiaroa Head
Queenstown and Central Otago tend to steal the limelight when it comes to mountain biking in the South Island. Yet, over the last five years, there has been a quiet revolution in Dunedin. A new track network has stretched out across the city landscape and there are now rides for all abilities, from tough nut dirt jumpers to weekend cruisers.
There is a tropical forest in chilly Dunedin - at the Otago Museum! And, the $10 entrance fee is the best money that I've spent so far in Dunedin.
A serious of walkways and swing bridges take visitors to explore the four story exhibit, complete with a living rainforest and water features.
The air temperature is kept at 30°C, and the humidity stays at 70% thanks to the waterfall. I think it was the first time that Eran, my Israeli friend, has been truly warm since he has been in Dunedin. Standing behind the waterfall became his ‘Happy Place’.
Most of the butterflies are from the Philippines and Costa Rica, although there are special guests from around the world. From the sounds of it, the Otago museum has had to jump through hoops to import the butterfiles and keep them contained, so that the endemic biodiversity of New Zealand is not threatened in any way.
The hatching cycle is in constant motion and the butterflies and moths live from between a few days to three months. Normally there are between 500 and 1,000 butterflies in the forest depending on what has recently hatched.
Caterpillars are on display; however, they are not in the actual forest, simply because they would devour it. Banana leaves are used to keep the ravenous lave happy. Frogs, lizards, turtles, fish and birds can also be found about the forest.
On a cold southern day I think there is no better place in Dunedin to go hang out!