Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pride of the South

Queenstown to Dunedin

We had a short day for driving today and ended up having a leisurely morning in Queenstown. Leslie was up for riding her bike this morning, albeit a cold ride, and headed out about an hour and a half before we took off. We met her at the original bungee jumping bridge about 30 kilometers outside of town. We spent a couple of minutes watching people jump off the bridge and took a few pictures. Now that Leslie and I are seasoned pros at the bungee jump game, we took delight in watching the novice jumper take their first leap. We both weren’t sure we would be any more gung ho than we were on our first and only jump.
We drove to Alexandra for lunch. It is a nice orchard area very similar in climate to western Colorado. The surrounding hills and the geography reminded both Leslie and I of the area around Meeker and Craig. The area grows pears, peaches, apricots and apples. Leslie and I are hoping to pass back through there on an abandoned rail line that they made into a path. We will keep you posted.
We rolled into the port town of Dunedin this afternoon. I was driving and Leslie was navigating. The directions to the holiday park for the campervan were from downtown Dunedin so we had to head there first. The roads through the downtown area were straight forward enough, but just to add a little spice there was enough construction to throw me off some of the streets I needed to be on. Leslie guided me through the minefield downtown and got us back on track. I think I will add at this point that Dunedin is known for it’s steep streets and in fact has the steepest street in the world. It is measured at 38.5˚ incline. I should have known that I was in trouble when Leslie guided us off of the main road onto a narrow one way street on top of the hill. We were wondering how they were going to wedge a campervan park on a hill, but didn’t worry about it until the one way ended and the street going down had a staircase for a sidewalk. We didn’t end up on the steepest street, but it was enough that I rode the brake down in first gear. Nothing like the smell of clutch to make you pucker a little.
After that drive, I was ready to take part in the reason why I wanted to come to Dunedin. The Speight’s Brewery was founded in 1876. It is still in operation today on the same site it has inhabited since that time. The brewery is a batch brewery, which means that all the beer here is brewed and bottled in batches, rather than assembly lines that produce beer all the time. It is also a gravity brewery, which means that all the raw ingredients for the beer are hauled up to the top level and processed and added using gravity and chutes, rather than hauling ingredients around. The main beers that are produced in the brewery, Gold Medal Ale, Special Dark, and Distinction Ale, are all produced in copper kettles made in the 1940’s. The specialty beers that are produced in the brewery, the Pilsner, Pale Ale, and the Porter are all open fermented in the original Kauri Gyles (big Kauri wood tubs). The tour culminated in the tour group hanging out in the tasting room, self serving ourselves and watching the 15 years of Speight’s Pride of the South commercials. It was very cool listening to the tour guide talk about how there really isn’t a word for the pride of the south, it is just a feeling, way and demeanor that the southern New Zealanders have. There is a line in the advertisement songs that the guide used to sum it up best; “We have the best women and the best beer.”
Good on ya mate!

1 comment:

JennSean said...

If you haven't check out the Speights webpage:
Make sure to have your speakers on!
CK&LK you guys should submit some photos!
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