as the Claxton’s arrive. But, thankfully, it was because of the weather rather than us.
Where we are:
Our arrival was an experience to say the least. We drove down from Christchurch on the A1 in heavy driving rain, with spray from the large trucks travelling in the opposite direction regularly obscuring the view ahead.
When we joined the Bay Road from Dunedin to the Otago Peninsula, which runs between the sea and the cliffs, to head out to the peninsula, the sea was washing over the road and streams of water were running off from the cliffs over the road. This was at least manageable. We did some shopping in Portobello and then headed across to Allan’s Beach at about 4.00pm. When we hit the gravel road – a single track causeway road running around Hooper’s Inlet, things did look a bit dodgy. We went through various watery incursions and the wind was blowing water and various other items across the road. We got most of the way to our destination but came across a patch that looked pretty bad and we felt we could not risk putting the hire car through it just in case and not knowing the road so we turned round and headed back. The road was a lot worse going back – even in the short space of time. We got back to Portobello and telephoned our hosts. They suggested getting a drink and a meal as it still wasn’t quite high tide and if we waited long enough the water should recede. Because of the ‘king moon’ the night before, there was an exceptional ‘king tide’ which was why it was so bad. Combine that with the storm and the conditions were understandable. So we went for an evening meal as soon as the local restaurant opened at 5.00pm. It was still pouring down with rain at this time.
After our meal we tried again but if anything it was worse. Our road was completely under water (see picture)
. We worked out that there was another route in which went round the leeward side of Papanui Inlet, slightly north of Hooper’s. This proved fine until we tried to join up with the original road and again the road was completely under water. So we went back to Portobello once again (by this time it was past 8.30pm) and phoned our hosts, asking them if they could meet us and lead us in. After a bit of persuasion they agreed to do that (think they thought we were a bit wimpish) and we met them back at the furthest point we could reach and they did indeed lead us safely home but not before we had gone through some pretty deep water (with fingers crossed and breath held.)
The next day we heard that the normal road was in a pretty bad state and the way we come in was the best (even though that road was closed the next day) and even the next day at high tide the roads were once again covered.
The situation in Dunedin had been pretty bad too with quite a bit of flooding, and the water had also got into the sewerage system potentially causing it to overflow. Hence the state of emergency:
Dunedin Declares State of Emergency!.
The whole thing was the result of the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi that has been lashing the country.
Dunedin was founded by Scottish Settlers and the name derives from the Gaelic name for Edinburgh (Dun~=Burgh)