If God created a diverse nature, he also crafted the man and endowed him with creative ingenuity that he used to exploit the nature, for his own evolution and progress and create some of the masterpieces which, since time immemorial, could leave a mark as icons of history and culture. Extolling one, too much, would mean risking the dignity of the other and for the fear of being not forgiven for the same, perhaps it was now our time too, to awaken out of the idyllic world of nature and in our remaining days like discerning travelers, move on, appreciate and revel in the world of history and the rich culture that lay in front of us with its open arms.
Dunedin , a vibrant city with its rich history and culture of Scottish settlers, exudes the talent of some of the architectural geniuses of then Victorian and Edwardian era, with the towers and spires in its many buildings of neo Gothic style and stately homes around the city. Octagon, at the city center is the focal point of the city surrounding which, many buildings out of twenty-four listed with historic places trust are located and form visitors main attraction and are mainly attributed to the renowned architect Robert Lawson.
For us, it was more than our luck to have our accommodation (also very artistic) in the vicinity of the some of the major attractions, one of them being the University of Otago. One of the oldest Universities of New Zealand, founded in 1869, it has a Bluestone clock tower with its registry dating back from 1878 and some of the he semidetached houses built in 1879 to house the very first professors. After this, the time till noon, only allowed us to make a brief visit to Octagon and the buildings like St. Pauls cathedral, Municipal chambers and Public art gallery.
St. Paul’s Cathedraal (Dunedin)
Whereas St.Paul’s Cathedral building shows the use of vaulted stones in its ceilings, Municipal Chambers building is an example of use of Omaru stones. Built in 1880, this building is topped with a 47 mt. high tower.
Municipal Chambers at Octagon(Dunedin)
Public art gallery built not long ago, is designed to harmonize with historical architecture of buildings in the proximity. It houses some of the best collections of the European art in the history and also the early and contemporary New Zealand arts including works of Francis Hodgkin. Though difficult to extricate ourselves from the spell binding collection, due to shortage of time, we had to leave the Octagon and before leaving the enticing Dunedin, a few more traversing of Dunedins streets and passing through the markets and glimpses of arts and craft, jewelry, we continued on our journey to our last but not the least destination, Christchurch .
Journey to Christchurch gave us one more chance of saluting the national icon of New Zealand, the majestic Mount Cook. There are ups and downs in life’s journey and so is a traveler’s. Our car broke down and left us stranded for four hours till Hertz executives replaced with a new one, reducing our time in Christchurch.
Christchurch, rightly dubbed the most English city after London, packed with adventure activities, art centers, musical and theatre performances, buildings of rich architecture, fine gardens could be a travelers dream city destination. Having already had a taste of this tantalizing Christchurch on the first leg of journey, all we could do was just to throw ourselves into its mesmeric spell and gather whatever bit we could for the remaining half a day. So invariably our first action was to rush to the city center. City center itself is a delight; to see a tram traversing around the city center and passing the main buildings including those of architectural interest increases it by leaps and bounds. Christchurch was the city where we wanted to savor every minute of time spent, and to start with the tram and end it with Christchurch Cathedral, we couldn’t ask for better.
Christchurch Cathedral, one of the Gothic revival and Edwardian buildings, built between 1864 and 1904, dominates, Cathedral Square, the centre and contains many works of art, illustrating the history of Canterbury. As the focal point of new Anglican settlement designed by English architect George Gilbert Scott, in the Gothic revival style, this Cathedral was built of Canterbury stones and native timbers and has detailed wood and stone carvings in high alter and timber ceiling depicting the history of Canterburys settlement, the citys connection with Antarctic exploration and military campaigns through the world wars.
Rushing through some of the souvenir shops and picking up my favorite, much loved Kauri artifact, Pauva shells, it was time to leave. CanterburyUniversity looked gorgeous from a distance. To view it closely: probably, next time, god willing.
It was with a heavy heart we had to say good bye to Christchurch and South Island. After a splendid holiday, our association with this country was coming to an end but would always remain deep inside our hearts and as I mentioned before, with our souls. So, no regrets.
Back to Auckland, another round of hospitality in cousins home and finally back to sweet home, sweet home and loads of sweet memories