I’ve been in Dunedin for 7 weeks now, and will leave for home again in less than 5.

Time is going fast. I have been enjoying my time here (among some challenges), and have enjoyed meeting new people. Meeting new people is something I enjoy and has been really good. There are heaps of really cool people down here who I will be sad to leave behind.

Dunedin is quite a different place to Auckland. That may sound like an obvious statement (it’s in the South Island for a start, Ryan!), but there have been a few things which I’ve noticed.

I’m not  trying to show that one city is ‘better’ than the other by listing these. They are merely observations.

– For a start, people look you in the eye when you are being served in shops. People aren’t quite as rushed and take the time to make eye contact as they serve you. It’s quite nice, actually.

– There is a slower pace of life. The whole ‘slower pace of life’ thing is a bit of cliché, so I thought I’d explain what exactly I mean by that. The first aspect of this which springs to mind is the speed people drive on the roads. Now some of you may claim otherwise, but in Auckland I feel like I drive about the same speed as everyone else. Down here, I felt very impatient! It seems people perpetually drive below the speed limit, and to my initial frustration, no one seems to mind or even notice! People are less in a hurry. In a new thing for me, I see people generally stopping at orange lights. I have grown accustomed to this though and am now (kinda) happy to cruise at the same speed as everyone else.

– The second aspect to the slower pace of life is people’s social life. I hope I am not generalising inaccurately here, but people seem more content to do less in terms of going out at night. Half way through last year I was talking to a friend of mine who had moved to Auckland from a smaller town, and echoed that thought, saying that in his home town, people liked to stay home more. He thought that always having something on in the weekends wasn’t such a good thing.

– Another difference between Auckland and Dunedin is the importance placed on image. I suppose living in Auckland almost all of my life in middle class suburbs I have not had huge exposure to other ways of life. Although in saying that, I have spent six months each in Wellington, Colorado and Ethiopia. Down here people don’t dress up as much. That doesn’t mean they can’t dress up, it doesn’t mean they don’t know how or that they don’t have smart clothes, it is just that people are less preoccupied with image.

– The suburbs are interesting  here in Dunedin. The difference between the most expensive homes and the least expensive is way less marked. There are not these huge mansions which are found in parts of Auckland. And conversely, there are not areas where I would be cautious walking in after dark. The other interesting difference in terms of housing is that higher and lower socio-economic areas are not as clearly defined as they are in Auckland. It is more common in Dunedin to have a less-expensive house next to a more expensive one.

Yeah. That’s my thoughts on what (some of) the differences are between Dunedin and Auckland.

I had a great time with my friends Tim, Aneesh, Rob and Chris in Queenstown over New Years. Unfortunately the weather didn’t quite do it for us on New Years Day as we sat outside battling the weather trying to watch the cricket, but by countdown time it was fine and the stars were out!

I took an extended drive home, visiting Invercargill, Gore, and managed to get down to Bluff! As I was driving home I realised that I didn’t know when the next time I would be that far south, and that I should visit these spots while I was close. So I’ve included a few snapshots of some of the views in between Queenstown and Bluff.


South of Queenstown, looking south

Funny old chimney


Mountains around Lake Wakatipu