From Milford Sound we traveled to the east coast of the South Island to Dunedin. A large city with an active port and a large university, the town had great views from the hills above the city and a youthful vibe.
The main attraction we wanted to see was Larnach Castle – the supposedly haunted home of William Larnach – an entrepreneur and politician who committed suicide in the New Zealand House of Parliament in 1898. The castle – which is better described as a mansion – is built on a ridge on the Otago Peninsula with amazing views over the water to the mainland.
The castle had been faithfully restored – even down to little touches such as vintage suitcases in the children’s rooms. We expired the extensive gardens and the castle – the highlight been scaling the tiny spiral staircase to the top turret and enjoying the views.
It was nearly time to head home – but there was one more thing to tick off the bucket list. We were flying out of Christchurch so we took the road north towards Mount Cook. Another scenic drive with the snow capped peaks in the distance – we stopped off and snapped more photos by the lakeside.
We had heard that New Zealand was home to a species of dolphin found no where else the in the world – the hector dolphin – the worlds smallest and rarest dolphin.
From Christchurch it was an hour and a half drive to the small village of Akaroa on the Banks peninsula. The sheltered harbour has a large pier from which cruises run out along the coast to swim with dolphins. We suited up in thick wetsuits (the water was still ice cold in early Spring) and headed out. The Dolphins are not baited or drawn – they tend to stay close to the coastline and we went searching for a pod to see if they wanted to play. To get the Dolphins attention the guides say to try and make noises and blow bubbles underwater.
One of the coolest experiences while in #NewZealand was swimming with Hector's dolphin. There only found in the land of the kiwis, and are one of the smallest dolphins at just around 4ft. We were so lucky they were swimming all around us. At one point there were like 10!! #amazing #bestplace #hectorsdolphin #animals #widlife #free #swimming #travel #bucketlist 🐬🐬
We were very lucky – we came across a pod of about 10 who were very playful and kept swimming around us! At first we were concerned about the possibility of sharks – but the guides told us they avoid the churning water along the coastline.
That’s it for my New Zealand journey, I loved every second and I hope I get back there soon! Very happy to say my travel blog is now up to date – I am now in London starting another journey traveling and working through the United Kingdom and Europe for the next 5 months – so stay tuned for more travel posts!