After getting picked up at Bluff Wharf today we drove along the scenic route to Dunedin instead of on the highway. The area of the south east of the south island is called the Catlins and it was beautiful. It reminded me of the rolling English countryside but a bit bigger, and coastal. The area was populated by whalers and sealers in the mid 1800's but no the whole area which is very large had only about 1200 people living there. We stopped at a lighthouse where we were told there may be a chance to see the worlds rarest sea lions. I wasn't expecting to see any but as we stood on the cliff above we saw two on the beach. Our driver (the Hoff) told us to stay 10m away and not to stand between them and the sea so they don't feel threatened. However as we were walking along the path there was a sea lion right next to the path! It was having a nap with its head in the bush! right next to the path! Then it woke up and started scratching itself. It seemed a bit disorientated but as it was a female we didn't have to stand to far away. But as it woke up a bit more we decided to move on and leave it in peace. Our driver said he was surprised to see one so far from the water but it seemed happy where it was. We got down to the beach and saw the two we had spotted from the cliff and watched them play and fight from a distance then left. The Catlins area was nice but after the Southern Alps and Milford sound it was a bit of and anti-climax.
Then we arrived in Dunedin, the 'Edinburgh of the Southern hemisphere.' Its mostly a student town but there is some really cool architecture here. We only had an hour to walk around before a brewery tour but it seems like a nice city. I think I'll come back here, don't have time to stay longer. there are lots of churches here, the world's steepest street (41% gradient) and a statue of Robert Burns. We went to Speights brewery and sampled the beer. Our tour guides great-great grandfather was one of the co-founders of the brewery and he was very good, didn't ramble on for to long and was interesting. I do like the look of Dunedin and I think I will return one day.