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Friday, March 4, 2016

"Gingerbread George's" Choo-Choo Station

Dunedin's train station is BIG!  Wouldn't "fit" in my camera; this came out of a clip from a video.
Almost too pretty to be a train station!  New Zealand's South Island
turn-of-the-century railway station in Dunedin.
Gold.  Coal.  Timber.  Livestock. Turn-of-the-century, up to 100 trains daily flowed through “Edinburgh of the South” aka Dunedin, once New Zealand’s industrial, commercial powerhouse and largest and most populous city.

Completed over 110 years ago, in 1906, Dunedin’s magnificently elaborate existing railway station took three years to build, earning its architect, George Troup, the nickname “Gingerbread George.”




Stained glass at  Dunedin
New Zealand's train station.

Per Wikipedia, “The station is constructed of dark basalt from Kokonga in the Strath-Taieri with lighter Oamaru stone facings, giving it the distinctive light and dark pattern common to many of the grander buildings of Dunedin and Christchurch. Pink granite[3] was used for a series of supporting pillars which line a colonnade at the front. The roof was tiled in terracotta shingles from Marseilles[4] surmounted by copper-domed cupolas.[5] The southern end is dominated by the 37-metre clock tower visible from much of central Dunedin.’

The booking hall features a mosaic floor of almost 750,000 Minton tiles. A frieze of Royal Doulton porcelain runs around the balcony above it from which the floor's design, featuring a locomotive and related symbols, can be clearly seen.[6] The main platform is the country's longest,[citation needed] extending for about 500 metres.”



Clock tower, Dunedin New Zealand's
train station, Otago district.
Daily scenic rail tours to long ago replaced Dunedin’s commercial and commuter rail traffic. 

While no longer distribution juggernaut, a stone’s throw from Cadbury chocolate’s New Zealand headquarters, Dunedin’s ornate Flemish renaissance-style railroad station is more an elegant multipurpose attraction.  Housing a restaurant, Otago Sports Museum a Saturday farmer’s market, and the Otago Arts Society, the photogenic railroad station itself is the real attraction. 

Today New Zealand’s least sunny major city and not-so-sleepy college town is still a cultural mecca, due to its proud Scottish heritage, reflected in its grand buildings, excellent museums, and thriving arts community. 



Comparative diminutive side
entrance to Otago Museum
Dunedin. I found it prettier than
its modern main entrance.
Dampened from non-stop mist, we tucked into Otago Museum. There we happily whiled away several hours enjoying the famous New Zealand-born Everest-climber Sir Edmund Hillary, South Pacific cultures, evolution of native flora and fauna, and maritime exhibits.

We skipped the $20 Cadbury Tour without much ado. We were more sorry the weather dampened our interest in taking a long stroll to appreciate the local architecture or even to scale the steepest street in the world, Dunedin’s Baldwin Street, much less some lovely-for-a-rare-sunny-day panoramic vista points.

Bottom line? 


Courthouse, across the street from Dunedin New Zealand's
picturesque train station.
Today's ticket entrance for the Dunedin rail station.
Just scenic tours, these days.
Entrance to Otago Sports Museum,
Dunedin's train station.

















Even in wet weather, like we experienced passing through, Dunedin’s got a little something for everyone.  Just don’t forget your umbrella!

Mobile phone user in from of former Dunedin
train station ticket window.
Location Location

After our near month-long road trip blitzing New Zealand from Northlands to its Southernmost mainland tip, at Bluff, South Island, we're back.  Currently our boat’s in Whangarei’s Riverside Marina (S35.43.674 E174.20.17), on stilts, undergoing much major and minor work.  More on that soon.


Vintage poster in maritime section of
Otago Museum, Dunedin New Zealand.
Busy working on our boat so we can make
that or a similar passage next.
Sailing by the Numbers


Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles (visiting USA, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos [Ecuador], French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand).  We will resume serious cruising when cyclone season ends in ~April 2016.  We have not yet decided whether to sail to Fiji (assuming cyclone Winston’s Fiji damage doesn’t change our plans), New Caledonia, Vanuatu then Australia (~4,000 miles), or just to Australia (~1,500 miles).  We're leaning toward the former, then selling our boat and going back to work.