Sunday, May 9, 2010

It Always Works Out in the End

There are a few things that Kiwis cannot do well. The most important for all Kiwi-virgins out there is the following: Kiwis have very limited sense of distance or time estimation. They will very happily tell you Destination X is “right around the corner” or “about 20 minutes down the road” and they will be telling you what they believe is the truth.

DO NOT BELIEVE THESE PEOPLE. Say thank you and then double (if not triple) whatever you were just told before planning your next steps.

Our first learning experience with said very limited sense of distance or time estimation was our adventure getting to Baldwin Street (for a reminder, see the earlier blog). We asked a very friendly Kiwi if Baldwin Street was within walking distance. The answer? “Its about 20 minutes down the road…great weather… an easy walk.”

Please see exhibit A - you have to click on the image to get the full view. Note we were at A and Baldwin Street was B. Also note the distance and time required for said distance on the left hand side of exhibit A.

Over four kilometers and one very hot and thirsty hour later we reached the street.

But the point of this blog is not this rather endearing Kiwi weakness but actually how everything always works out. Our unexpected not-so-excellent learning lesson (repeated numerous times before we got the hang of it*) lead to an excellent experience we would not have had otherwise: Tunnel Beach.

Before the Mr. and I undertook the hour long walk back into Dunedin (because the bus wasn’t gonna happen), we stopped off at a bar called the Mannequin and met an excellent American living and working there. This Good People gave us a few tips for our trip around New Zealand. By far the best was the very little known Tunnel Beach.

Totally off the ‘beaten track’ but totally worth the detour, Tunnel Beach left us both deeply respectful for the raw natural environment of New Zealand; a chill for what a little selfishness (read the link above) can offer to others later on; and a deep yearning for the adventures coming towards us.

From the head of the walking trail down to the beach, we had an idea of just how beautiful this excursion was going to be.

After about 45 minutes of getting closer and closer, we finally reached the carved sandstone. Look carefully and you can see the Mr. and get a sense of size.

The sea was loudly pounding against the stone, slowly carving further into the cliffs, and yet the atmosphere was of absolute peace. Thinking we’d seen the tunnel (turns out that's an arch in the picture above), we were ready to slowly meander back towards the car when we noticed a – wait for it – man-made tunnel. Thus the name Tunnel Beach.

We walked down the stairs and into a stunning, absolutely private beach. It was so beautiful we forgot to take more than this first picture. Instead we sat, peacefully and nearly silently, in awe until the leg fell asleep.

If you’d like to see more, another traveler got better images.

So, yes, the Kiwis have very limited sense of distance or time estimation, but, as always, it works out in the end.


*Never, ever, ever rely on the Kiwi sense of estimation when bodily functions are at stake. Never.

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