Chapter 9. Dunedin
Of course our visit to a very English city was bound to be balanced by a visit to a very Scottish one: Christchurch to Dunedin accomplished that feat. The statue to Bobby Burns at the very center of town was a clear testimonial to the Scottish allegiance in Dunedin. Instead of an impressive Anglican church, we now saw the First Presbyterian Church take a dominant position over the rest of the city. The Settler’s Museum cleared any skepticism regarding the Scottish influence here. There were portraits of the first arrivals in the area—all Scotsmen. Journals and diaries covering the terrible voyages necessary to reach this new world were displayed prominently. The history of the Scottish Church was well explained. And if all that had not been enough, as we were leaving Dunedin, we were serenaded by a wonderful Bagpipe Band. Other instruments were combined and it was actually an entertaining experience. There were drums naturally as well as a saxophone and an accordion. Scotland the Brave rang out loud and brassily as we cleared the harbor.
However, our real reason for visiting Dunedin was not to savor the Scots flavor of the city. Our purpose to visit another preserve for native birds: Taiarora Head. This clifftop headland is managed for the protection and propagation of the Royal Albatross, though other birds do fly through and use the land for resting. Only the Royals nest there however. Again, DOC has declared limited access to the enclosed viewing platform at the edge of the cliff. We were first ushered into the Visitors Center where we viewed an interesting film about the albatross life cycle and the purposes of this Preserve. We were also educated about the need for silence even in the viewing platform and certainly on the steep pathway up to that place. Only 18 visitors at a time are allowed there and only 18 on the pathway leading upwards. Furthermore, each visitor has only 15 minutes to gaze out at the albatross and other birds. A fence keeps predators off the cliff- face and prevents humans from walking over into
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