The Auckland - Sydney cruise can be divided into three parts - intensive New Zealand part (3 ports, one day at sea and one day in the fjords), then a two-day passage to Tasmania, and, finally, the Australian part - two ports, Hobart and Melbourne, separated by days at sea. I think that this is the charm of the route. In general, the most interesting cruises are the ones where interesting stops and sailing days are harmoniously connected (the open sea and sailing near the coast, through the connected islands, skerries and fjords). This wonderful cruise was just like that, and today
Here you can see our "Princess", a little church on the bank and a piece of "Volendam".
Today will be somewhat similar to the previous day - I again chose the mountain railway tour. While New Zealand is well known for its beautiful landscapes, the tourist train tours allow you to see many of the more remote areas of the coast's inland. In addition, today's trip is short enough and after we will have plenty of time in Dunedin - so we will also get acquainted with the city.
The train waits for tourists in the port. We get into retro cars in the early 20th century style and the journey began!
Otago Railway branches off from the main railway of the South Island at Wingatui station, 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Dunedin, and leads through Middlemarch, Omakau and Alexandra in Cromwell, located in the heart of the region. The total length of the railway line is 146 miles (235 kilometers).
This route was chosen in 1877 among seven proposed options because it opened the way to the richest lands of Crown. It was the least complicated variant from an engineering standpoint and at the same time it was the shortest path between the remote area in the center of the country and Dunedin, located near the sea. By the middle of 1870s, the gold rush in Otago was already over and attention was mainly focused on the agricultural and livestock potential of Dunedin and the surrounding area. The roads at the time were not good, so the railroad was considered the best way to improve the traffic situation in the region.
Construction of the Taieri Gorge Railroad began in 1879 but only a year later, due to economic problems, it was stopped until the mid 1880s. The first 16 mile (27-kilometer) section, between Dunedin and Hindon, was opened in 1889. In 1891, the track reached Middlemarch and future construction proceeded very slowly. Pike reached Omakau in 1904, Alexander in 1906 and Clyde in 1907. Later, in 1914, the works were stopped and it wasn't until 1921 that the railway between Dunedin and Cromwell was completed. Despite the protracted construction, Taieri Gorge played a crucial role in the development of Central Otago. Tons of agricultural products and hundreds of thousands of cattle heads were annually transported from this region to Dunedin, and to northern regions of New Zealand.
Transport licensing protected the railway from competition with cars until 1961 for the carriage of livestock, and until 1983 for the transportation of general cargo. In 1980, construction of the Clyde dam began, which led to the creation of the reservoir and the flooding of the railway line between Clyde and Cromwell. Up until 1989, the railway branch transported construction materials for a hydroelectric power station. After its completion, in December 1989, the closure of the legendary railroad from April 1990 was announced.
Immediately after closing, the city council of Dunedin bought the decommissioned line passing through the valley of the Taieri River, and soon the Taieri Gorge Railway became one of New Zealand's major tourist attractions. This is a big deal because passing through the mountains along the Taieri River Valley, Taieri Gorge Railway is a unique monument of engineering in the early 20th century. It passes through 12 tunnels and crosses bridges and viaducts above several dozen rivers and gorges, sometimes passing on very narrow curves and very steep slopes.
And now we are going to ride along the 36 mile (58 kilometer) Taieri Gorge section, between Port Chalmers and Pukerangi.
We are passing through the tunnel.
And on the first part of the route, from Port Chalmers to Dunedin, we are moving along the bay and diving into the mainland.
I immediately occupied a place in the open area of the car but I was not there alone. I met a 30 year old Australian, with whom we made taken more than one hundred pictures of the stunning mountain views. Such a good guy - an engineer from Adelaide, engaged in construction of buildings. Almost colleagues, we had something to talk about!
The train meanwhile drove to the old