Day 33, Port Chalmers, Dunedin
Our arrival was delayed into Port Chalmers this morning due to high winds. Another cruise ship, the Norwegian Jewel, was in the channel ahead of us and Captain Jonathan wanted to stay clear of the channel until the Jewel’s mooring was assured. If the Jewel had to abort her visit, the Captain wanted to keep the channel clear so the Jewel could retreat to the open sea, if necessary, without us being in the way.
Despite the high winds, the Amsterdam successfully moored in Port Chalmers, albeit about 1 hour late. The power of the wind on a surface ship can be incredible. I recall being on the USS Saratoga (CV-60) when we were unable to get underway because the high winds kept us pushed against the pier. Despite the efforts of 4 tugboats, we were unable to clear the pier and we were forced to spend another day in port.
Our plan for today was to visit an online yarn shop called Vintage Purls and the local yarn shop Knit World. Morag McKenzie, proprietor of Vintage Purls, opens her home store to yarn shoppers by appointment.
The ship was cleared quickly after we moored, and guests began to stream ashore immediately. The temperature was in the 50’s and the Captain came across the public address system to remind guests of the lower than normal temperatures as he was observing some people leaving the ship in short sleeves and shorts.
Our group met in the Ocean Bar at 10 am and we headed ashore to catch the shuttle bus to Dunedin. The shore excursion buses were waiting for their tour participants at the base of the gangway. The shuttle busses were parked on the main road, about ¼ mile away. It was quite windy and there were a few light showers. Our choice of a waterproof windbreaker as our outer garment was perfect.
The shuttle buses left once each wave of guests arrived. They didn’t make us wait until the bus was full. It is 8 miles to Dunedin, or about 20 minutes by bus. We found out later that a taxi to or from Dunedin would cost about $45 NZD. The busses dropped us off across the street from the Dunedin Library, about a block from the Octagon, which is the center of town.
Our appointment with Morag at Vintage Purls was at 11 AM so we had about 30 minutes to explore a souvenir shop right off the Octagon and across the street from the taxi stand.
A few minutes after 11 AM we grabbed the first taxi in line and headed off the Vintage Purls, about 2 miles away. The taxi driver was an independent driver with an interesting design on the side of his cab. He called himself the Pirate Cab.
Morag met us outside her house on the porch and escorted us into her retail area. She uses one of the front rooms in her house for her business and her dye studio is in the basement. She features the lighter weight yarns in bases that she dyes. There are also a few lines of European yarns. Her shop is small, the four of us plus Morag almost filled the room. We all gravitated to the yarns that she dyed. Judy bought a sweater quantity of fingering weight in a cobalt blue. It’s a blend of 70% NZ Polworth / 20% Tussah Silk / 10% Black NZ Merino.
Morag welcomes visitors, but by appointment only. If you find yourself in the Dunedin area, send her an email and set up a time to visit.
Morag called a taxi to take us back to the Octagon. Taxi fare was about $12 NZD.
Afternoon in Dunedin
We had planned to walk down the street to a restaurant near the train station, but once we got out of the taxi, it started to rain – and rain hard enough that we went into the nearest restaurant – called Craft Bar and Kitchen – which as the name implies sells craft beer alongside a limited bar menu.
I ordered an “Open Burger” which was a thick hamburger served on a single bun and piled high with tomatoes, lunch meat and other fixin’s. Our only complaint was that the WI-FI didn’t work and the waitress simply shrugged and moved on after we complained. Fortunately, we hadn’t planned on needing faster Wi-Fi today to do anything important.
Scattered showers made walking around less fun than it would have been otherwise, but there were enough stretches when it was not raining that we managed to avoid getting too wet.
Near the Octagon is a large supermarket called Countdown. They have anything you may be interested in and we picked up some Tim Tams and Peanut Butter to take back to the ship.
Cadbury chocolates is located right behind the grocery store. We heard that they may be closing soon, so be sure to check before you plan a visit if visiting Cadbury chocolates is important. They offer one hour guided tours for $22 NZD or charge $5 NZD to visit their visitor center. We elected to skip both paid options and spent some time browsing the retail store and taking a picture of us with the giant chocolate bunny in the lobby.
On the way back to the shuttle bus stop, we walked by KnitWorld, located at 68 Princes Street, but it was closed due to the Waitangi Day Holiday.
We arrived back at the shuttle bus stop 1 hour before the last bus and found 4 buses lined up ready to take people back to the ship. Twenty minutes later we arrived at Port Chalmers where port security bordered the bus, checked everyone’s cruise card and photo ID before clearing us onto the wharf. The bus drove right up to the gangway so we didn’t have to walk the length of the wharf like we did in the morning.
SailAway was moved to the Crow’s nest due to the high winds. I stopped by to take a look, but there were only a handful of people enjoying the views.
We enjoyed some nice scenery as we sailed out to the open sea. Captain Jonathon pointed out some penquins that were near the shoreline, but I wasn’t able to spot them, even using my binoculars.
I went with another theme dinner this evening, selecting the Maori Seafood Pot and the Linguine with Clams for my main course. We all celebrated Susan’s birthday today at dinner. The dining room made her a special cake made with Tim Tams and Kit Kats.
Rock Rhapsody was back in the Queen’s Lounge this evening with another exciting show. They played a few new Queen favorites and reprised two classics: Under Pressure and Bohemian Rhapsody. Rock Rhapsody hits all the marks for great cruise ship entertainment – high energy, entertaining and that 45-minute show just flies by. Don’t miss this talented bunch if you have a chance to catch their show.
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