Saturday, August 8, 2009


Dunedin Train Station

I went to Dunedin on two separate occasions, but only did a bit of visiting the first time around. Some travelers had described it as nothing special, but I found it really charming, with pretty buildings and an interesting city center. The downtown area is called the Octagon and is actually shaped in that way, with two main streets forming an inner and an outer Octagon. Sitting at one of the many cafes in the Octagon is a good way to people watch and get a feel for the city.

I stayed at a backpackers called Hogwartz (obviously named after Harry Potter), only really worth noting because of its beautiful architecture and sense of isolation within its walls. Its located in a wooden area, but close enough to the center of the city as not to feel cut off. Dunedin, as many cities in New Zealand are, is quite hilly so expect to puff a bit. Good exercise though!

Hogwartz backpackers

One of tons of cathedrals in this city

The Otago Museum is a must see museum, rife with exhibits from around the world as well as some interesting facts about the Ngai Tahu Iwi of the South Island and extinct birds of New Zealand's past. I skipped over the stuff not directly related to New Zealand because I didn't have the energy to see every exhibit, but even the two exhibits I did see took me a couple of hours (and I didn't comb through every single thing as I usually do).

It was fascinating to learn about Moa, the largest flightless bird in the world, and other flightless birds that have become extinct since the arrival of Maoris. An interesting and somewhat unbelievable fact about New Zealand is that apart from the bat, New Zealand does not have any native mammals. This is why there was such a high concentration of flightless birds here. There were no natural predators so they thrived. Really cool exhibit!

Back in the Octagon is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and they had an exhibit on Dunedin born Frances Hodgkins. I wanted to see what she was about. She was a watercolor painter who went and made it big in Europe in the early 1900s. There were quite a few things that I loved, but again I couldn't find most of them on the internet. Isn't that just a pain in the butt?

Hope you do like what you see below!


Anonymous said...

She's got some great things here..
Interesting that you chose a watercolorist...
you know my mom became quite good at watercolor in her last years...I think to myself as I often did when she expressed her lack of self confidence... man my mom could have been a very well known artist had she taken a different path or had a bit more ego. She really was SO VERY talented.
Can't wait to show you some of her newest stuff when you get here.


L said...

I would love to see some of her more recent works. The little that I had seen the last time I was in Miami was really beautiful. You're right, she didn't see her talent as well as some of the rest of us did. I remember telling her she had to do something more than just leave everything in the house! It's a date babe!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

L said...

Thank you, whoever you are. When inspiration strikes,you just have to go with it. Setting and frame of mind make a big impact. Thanks for reading!