Dunedin is blessed with one of the world’s oldest town belts, a green belt of over 200 hectares planted with exotic and native trees and home to many birds. The Town Belt contains several parks and linked up walking tracks which provide pedestrian access to steep streets which lead down to the CBD. Dunedin’s hills give an infinite variety of vistas of the inner city, harbour, Pacific Ocean, diverse residential streets, and the surrounding countryside including Mount Cargill and Flagstaff. Take a drive or stroll through the area roughly enclosed by Princes St/George St, Eglinton Rd, Highgate and Pine Hill Rd and discover another reason why people love living in Dunedin.
Mel Edwards, the owner/operator of cute gift shop Blackbird on Highgate, reckons the key to success in this line of work is always having a good selection of gifts that are unique, handmade and under $35. Mel likes a vintage look and she prides herself on stocking things you won’t find in other gift shops. A big seller is The School Bag, an old fashioned school satchel in a range of colours from orange and pink to turquoise. She also sells restored furniture, retro suitcases, God Jocks men’s underwear, ceramics, bags, children’s toys and puzzles, and jewellery including earrings. Presents for babies are a specialty.
Jubilee Park is enclosed by Serpentine Ave and Maori Rd and forms part of the Town Belt. It was named for the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria of Great Britain in 1887 when trees of the British Empire were planted in celebration. Further plantings of oaks and other trees from Great Britain have been undertaken since then, and the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth visited in 1954 and continued the tradition. There’s a carpark in Maori Rd then it’s a short walk across the playing field where you will find the monument and a grove of oaks. Jubilee Park also has a mountain bike track rated as easy.
Tucked away in Mornington Park on Mailer St, the Mornington Skatepark has been a popular spot for generations of skateboarders and families. Now kids are turning up there to practise scooter tricks. With a spine, rail, box, bowl, stairs and the deep Blood Bucket, there are plenty of challenges for all skill levels. Check out You Tube to see what the kids are getting up to down there.
The trophy cabinet at the Otago Golf Club dates back to 1871 when the club was formed by some hardy golfers from Aberdeen, making it the oldest golf club in the Southern Hemisphere. They welcome visitors and offer a 15 minute tour on the history of the club. It’s an undulating parkland 18 hole course which provides a good walk and a few holes which involve hills. The biggest challenge is provided by the notorious par-4 11th hole, The Glen, which is situated in a long and narrow valley. Visitors are welcome enjoy a pie and a beer as guests of the club.
Spelt flour, rye, organic wheat, oats and sourdough go into the artisan breads baked at Spelt on Highgate. A suburban bakery with a big reputation and an ever expanding range of products, this is a local secret that needs to be shared with visitors from out of town. Everything is baked fresh by hand daily, the pies and pastries are made with real butter and fresh fruit, and sourdough is a specialty. Lamb and harissa sausage rolls and pork belly pie are big favourites, while many loyal customers come in search of sweet treats such as orange and almond cake and ginger crunch. Espresso coffee, pestos, pates, oils, vinegars and local honeys are also available.
Stewart Bell – Gregarious Glaswegian Greenkeeper
“When you retire you’ve really got to have an interest or you vegetate and it’s not good for you.” These wise words are from 77 year old Stewart Bell who’s the Green Supervisor at the Roslyn Bowling Club in Gamma St. It’s a 15 hour a week job for this retired fitter and engineer who still finds time to play bowls. Stewart takes care of the cotula plants in the green and composts the clippings for the allotment gardens out the back where club members grow potatoes, strawberries, broad beans and rhubarb. Growing up in Glasgow he was four when the bombing was at its worst in World War II. After a career in the Merchant Navy he came to New Zealand and he’s proud to be a Kiwi, and more than that, a local identity, the Greenkeeper of Gamma St, always happy to chat to passersby.