In our first rainy weather we weighed anchor from the hotel and drove out into Dunedin's backcountry, the Otago Peninsula, to visit Larnach Castle, the only "castle" in New Zealand.
The views from the tower's parapet were fantastic.
The castle's fearless Scottish Wildcat kept a watchful eye on everything, ...
... and the extensive garden was indeed matching the style of the castle itself.
|Chinese Meadow Rue (Thalictrum delavayi).|
|A humble bumble bee being busy in Cross-leaved Heather (Erica tetralix).|
We then proceeded westwards into a vast pastureland with sheep, sheep, and even more sheep.
Stopped for lunch in the town of Gore that had a distinct wild-west flavour to the main street.
The code of conduct demands muddy gumboots left outside ...
... before you go inside to have your old coiffure revamped.
The most southerly roasted coffee was good, though.
Where else would there be a statue to honour a sheep breed? Gore certainly has a great pride in the region's sheep, mutton and wool production.
Well refueled in "Liquorland", we hit the road bound for Riversdal, Lumsden and Te Anau ...
... with lots of red deer farms along one side of the road ...
... and native tussock grass reserves along the other side.
By 4 p.m. we reached our overnight destination: Te Anau.
After an early dinner we sailed across the 66 km long and 415 m deep Lake Te Anau to visit the Te Ana-au limestone caves with lots of glowing "glow-worms" on the ceiling.
"Glow-worms" are actually insect larvae of fungus gnats. During their 9-10 months larval stage these guys sit on the caves ceiling and glow through bioluminescence to attract the odd flying insects, which are then devoured when they stick to the adhesive thread excreted by the larva. They are also cannibals, so they have a rich social life although they are always in total darkness, except for their phosphorescent "lantern" aft.
The caves were dark, very dark. I managed to snap only a couple of photos at the entrance.
The rest of our speleological experience must remain in the dark; but it looked just like a starry night sky.
While the sun was setting we boated back to civilization.
. . .
Tomorrow will be another treat to our senses: Fiordland National Park.