|Midwinter in Dunedin|
Yes, it's that time of the year again, when the people of the South decide it's been getting a bit dark and decide to have a party out in the cold. Some people take the celebration seriously and parade around the town with paper lanterns, others wear man-kinis (if you don't know you're better off, trust me) and go for a plunge in the freezing ocean, or a giant bucket if you live in the back-country. Dunedin does all these (well, not the bucket) and throws an all-nighter somewhere outside of town, reached by roads so terrifying that only the brave and hippies in camper-vans will make the trip to party.
The bash, if you can find it, is quite the pagan thing. Campfires burn hot and long, the moon's metal glow darts through the thin trees and people dance in the dark in their thermals until the sun comes up. It was cold, but there was a coffee stall and Djembe's to keep me awake and warm and ready to welcome the start of the winter.
I've also been exploring the town and the Yorkshire Dales theme park Dunedin maintains out on a little peninsula to one side. For such a small bit of land its quite heavily packed with hills, bays cliffs and beaches. It's relative detachment from the rest of the island has made it a haven for wildlife, most of which now resides within the fences of paid-for reserves. Some still live off on their own, protected by a longish walk rather than a cashier. Picking one of these beaches at random I was able to see (friendly) fur seals frolicking on wave washed rocks, (violent) New Zealand sea lions scratching in the sand and Yellow Eyed Penguins dashing from the crashing surf into the rolling dunes. Not bad for the shortest day of the year...
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