Before we went to bed, we discussed the possibility of waking up to watch the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. Anyone that knows me well knows that I really dislike waking up early in the morning. My phone alarm went off and I quickly shoved it under my pillow and continued my slumber. Little did I know that my hubby had also put his alarm on. He is much better at the whole waking up early business. But even without his alarm, a rooster from the farm next to us had starting walking around and letting everyone know that the sun is rising! Ok rooster, thank you, we got it! We climbed down from our sleeping "chamber" and peeked out of the front window. It was beautiful for sure, but it was also cloudy.
I happily volunteered to stay in the motorhome with the sleeping kids while my better half hopped out and went on to the beach to take a few pictures. I stayed in the passenger seat and watched for a while, but then sleep prevailed and I climbed back to the bed and went back to sleep! :)
Once we were all awake, we went to the beach to explore for a few minutes, but it was too windy and chilly, so we didn't stay long. Thank goodness for the gas powered heater which quickly warmed up our nippy motorhome.
We continued our journey southward towards Dunedin, and along the way we saw more gorgeous landscapes. But to be honest, we weren't really blown away. Yes it was absolutely green and gorgeous, but so was Western Ireland. Even still, we knew we had a lot more to see before forming an opinion, and anyways most people rave about the west coast of the South Island.
We arrived in Dunedin later than we had hoped and we were all very tired. Crazy jet lag! We decided that after roughing it for 2 nights, it was time to stay at a holiday park with proper facilities. We called up Leith Valley Holiday Park in Dunedin and reserved a spot.
All holiday parks are different, but more often than not they offer similar general amenities. They typically offer some non-powered sites for tents, and some cabins or rooms for people just looking for a place to stay. We got a powered site for our motorhome, which meant being able to charge all our electronic devices using the outlets inside the RV. We had originally hoped the outlets would work while the engine was on, or at least while the secondary battery had charge, but unfortunately the secondary battery only operates basic things like the fridge, water pump, and lights. Also, staying at a holiday park meant that we could have our electric heater on. I don't know much about the different kinds of motorhomes out there, but I thought our Wendekreisen was very fancy that we had both an electric and a gas heater. We rarely used our gas heater because we didn't want to have to re-fill our LPG gas tank and had some fears of gas leaks, but it was definitely nice being able to use the electric heater.
At holiday parks you also have a dump station available to you and drinking water is available at the spot where you park. Other advantages of holiday parks are a shared kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Some holiday parks have pools and big playgrounds, but they charge a lot of money per night.
The most famous holiday parks in New Zealand are the Top 10 Holiday Parks, which are located in pretty much every big town in the country. If you become a Top 10 Holiday Park member you are eligible for discounts at Top 10 Holiday Parks and some attractions, but they are also typically the most expensive holiday parks around. We decided it wasn't worth it for us, especially because we weren't into the whole "glamping" thing (Glamping: noun - The fusion of the words Glamorous and Camping) and actually loved the free camping sites much more, as they are definitely more beautiful than holiday parks.
Before getting totally settled at Leith Valley, we had to make a grocery store run. We picked a random store that showed up on Google Maps called New World. We had no idea that we were going there on their Christmas celebration day, with lots of free things being offered, including a BBQ outside and face painting for the kids! We enjoyed some small burgers while the kids got their faces painted as Batman and Hello Kitty. As we walked down the aisles to do our shopping, we were offered chocolates, cakes, cheese, and all sorts of stuff. Lucky us!
Back at the holiday park, we cooked a simple dinner in their shared kitchen, and while we researched what we were going to do tomorrow the kids had a blast playing in the common area with some fun toys.
I got our laundry done as the kids were getting into bed, and then since internet was somewhat decent, we uploaded a few pictures on Facebook to give everyone an update on what we were up to.
Tomorrow, we plan to explore the beautiful Otago Peninsula.