Oamaru is one of the most intriguing places in New Zealand, in my opinion. It is often over-looked as just a place to shoot through on your way south. But the place is teeming with life; just make sure you get off the main drag as soon as you can. The real action is towards the southern end of the main central township, in the Harbour and Tyne Historic Precinct.
This morning we begrudgingly checked out of our comfy motel right on 10am, and made our way down to the historic precinct. Walking around this area is like stepping back in time. Shop-keepers are totally into the spirit of things, most wearing antique Victorian outfits and sporting massive long curly moustaches.
The area is somewhat of a melting pot for a number of different artists, but the upstairs artists’ collective definitely has a unique flavour; lots of slightly disconcerting human-face sculptures stare at you as you peruse the gallery.
From Oamaru it was onwards to Kaka Point in the Catlins via Moeraki Boulders and Dunedin. I had stopped at Moeraki Boulders many times in the past. It never fails to entertain though…
Lunch at the not-too-overly-priced Moeraki Boulders Cafe was a delicious musroom filo pastry, chicken filo pastry, and green tea. Dunedin was just a service stop, topping up on the groceries we had bought in Christchurch before leaving a few days ago. We did drop into the Evandale cheese factory after Dunedin, and succumed to buying some blue brie cheese. A little disappointing though; we prefer a good knock-your-socks-off type of creamy blue cheese, but this was a not particularly sharp mouldy brie.
We checked into the Kaka Point Motel at around 5pm. An old converted house, essentially divided into two to make two motel ‘units’ (half a house each). We had beautiful sea views from the kitchen, and cooked up a storm for tea. This was to be our ritual for most of the trip; cafe lunches and home-made dinners.
After dinner was a mission up to Nugget Point. Checked out the Yellow-eyed penguins (and even saw a few waddle up the beach), walked to the light house and saw masses of Fur Seals playing in smal water holes around the point. In bed early for an early start tomorrow.
On the 5th of February 2010, I was thrilled to be able to make a lifelong committment to my long-time friend Haidee Rich. In what was to be the biggest ritual – entirely centred around us – of my life, we got married and had a huge reception on a beautiful sunny Wellington summer’s day.
The whole experience was quite unlike anything I had ever experienced. Months of planning – planning for a huge party centered around ourselves – came to beautiful fruition as the day unfolded and unwravelled into such an awesome occassion. We were surrounded by friends and family, all looking absolutely stoked that us two 29-year olds had finally ‘tied the knot’.
I was kind of expecting some sort of euphoric state of…well…something as we walked out of the church, but all I felt was a deep sense of ‘this feels entirely natural and obvious that I should now be married to Haidee’. Quite nice indeed.
A quick low-down on the stunning Haidee: Raised in the Wellington area of New Zealand, she somehow developed a desire to head over seas. This she did in grand fashion after graduating from university with a tourism and international business degree; she headed over to Kyrgyzstan on her own for 6 months, lecturing tourism development at a school there. From there she moved to Japan and proceeded to spend the next 4 years in various jobs there. While in Japan, we met up a few times, each time leaving to follow our own paths, until eventually, after both spending close to 5 years over seas, we both arrived back to New Zealand at the end of 2008. We met up again soon after in New Zealand, and now, just over a year later, we are married. Lovely.
It was an honour to have my younger brother, Chris, as one of my groomsmen. He has always been somewhat of an inspiration to me…I just wish I could grow as impressive a moustache as him!