Finally, the New Zealand border is reopening! Such great news and well timed for this post as I know many of you have had plans to travel here this year. So, I wanted to share scenes from a trip down south to Dunedin that we took over New Years. It’s a part of NZ we had never really seen before, and it was far more beautiful than we anticipated.
We haven’t actually done much this summer as we’re still trying to settle into life here in Wanaka and explore our new backyard, and couldn’t fathom packing up to go anywhere too far. But we did have the opportunity to stay at a friends luxury private lodge in Dunedin called ‘Kaimata’, which is located in a hidden cove on the scenic Papanui Inlet on the Otago Peninsula.
This place is truly special and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s where you go to get away from it ALL. No TV, limited devices, heavenly silence, an abundance of wild life, and utterly spectacular scenery. Kaimata is available to rent for those planning a trip to Dunedin or Otago.
Kaimata is about 30/40 minutes drive from Dunedin centre, via a winding but very scenic waterfront drive right along Otago Harbour. Ten minutes from Kaimata is Portobello, an adorably quaint and historic little village where you can get a few supplies, a good coffee or even a meal at the 1908 Cafe. And of course there’s some gorgeous historic houses in Portobello.
A peek inside Kaimata, which is currently undergoing a few interior updates. Celebrating to start of a new year here was pretty wonderful, I must admit. Always great to get away and have a change of scenery. Exactly what we needed since our house is in a state of half renovation, with boxes and possessions strewn from one end to the other. Escaping all of that for a few days was heavenly!
New Years Eve spent right here overlooking Papanui Inlet was very special and certainly a NYE that won’t ever be forgotten. Just us and the kids.
The sunsets are magical at Kaimata. Watching the sun illuminate the rolling green hills, and seeing the tide coming and going was pure meditation. At low tide you can kayak out to all the sand banks in the inlet and forage for wild clams.
A short walk down a private path to the water and you’ll find the gorgeous “Lazy Daisy” who happens to be the resident seal at Kaimata, chilling out on the dock. She is so adorable, and relatively unfazed but human presence. Although we didn’t get too close as she made is clear this was her dock. ha.
We did a bit of local exploring whilst at Kaimata, and drove out to Allan’s Beach at Cape Saunders, which is incredible. Sea lions just casually hanging out on the beach! It almost felt like we were on the coast of Scotland. So wild, untouched, and frankly it takes your breath away. Seeing the sea lions that close up and in their natural habitat was unforgettable. Unfortunately I didn’t take my big camera (just some iPhone shots below), but there is a Reel on my Instagram with more from Allan’s Beach.
We also took a drive up to the Royal Albatross Centre which is stunning, and a particularly scenic location.
After a few days staying at Kaimata, we made our way home to Wanaka via a pit stop at the beautiful St Clair Beach for ice creams and a dip in the ocean.
Some of the properties on the way from the peninsula to St Clair were mind blowing! This one above felt a quite “Long Island-esque”. I believe it’s a boutique hotel. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop to capture many of the houses as the kids were so desperate to get the ice cream! ha.
Living in the Southern Highlands for 10 years (no beaches nearby), and now in Wanaka (lakes & rivers, but again no beaches) our two just go nuts with joy whenever we get to a beach. It’s probably one of the moments that makes my heart swell the most. Seeing them so happy, and having that much fun simply playing in the shallows & the waves, it’s what I live for as a parent.
There were a lot of gorgeous houses (classic Kiwi weatherboards and quaint Edwardian style homes) around St Clair too, but the family were sick of me taking photos by that point! Will endeavour to do a solo trip so I can capture more of Dunedin as we still haven’t seen much of the city either.
And then, home sweet home. Back to BBQ’s outside in the balmy Wanaka air. It’s always so good to get home, even if it is a bit of a shambles inside at the moment!
If you’re now planning a trip to Otago, New Zealand you might want to see this post from our stay at Gibbston Valley in Queenstown.