Those Chimps are hilarious
I do not really know why they show this little film at the Otago Settlers Museum – perhaps because it is part of the history of transportation in New Zealand. But to me, although it surely is the least serious thing you will encounter in the museum, it is the funniest display of all. In fact, when I first discovered it I enjoyed the film so much that I watched it twice in a row, and would probably have watched it a third time, had my husband not asked me if I wanted to spend the whole day glued to the TV screen ;-) On following visits to Dunedin I went to the museum most times just to watch this film, and also introduced it to friends this way.
The film is about teaching children how to behave in traffic on the roads, and Kiwi children grew up with it in the 1950’s.
As I did not live in NZ at the time (and not at all in this world yet LOL) I enjoyed it 50, well, nearly 60 years later, and will enjoy it again on my next visit of the museum. If you are only a little childish you will surely love the film as well. (I am very childish, travelling with toy animals like Kimi the Bear… ;-)
The film is titled “Pedal Power” and is from about 1950. They showed it as an episode of a series named “Monkey Tale”. It was made for the Ministery of Transport and Road Safety by the National Film Unit.
The series used chimpanzee actors to demonstrate good and bad practices on the road. They acted as a family, with school children in the centre of attention, getting up in the morning, having breakfast served by chimp mommy. Then they went to school nicely dressed. At the start the chimp named Charley behaved like a m0r0n on his bicycle, getting into dangerous situations, annoying other road users. Then a policeman taught him how to behave, and then the whole daily routine started again with a reformed Charlie, using his bike in a responsible way, he and his chimp sister in her nice dress looking to the left and to the right before crossing the road, giving a sign with the hand before turning, and stop when the policeman at the intersection gives the sign. And so on.
The comment is in this immaculate artificial sounding British English as it used to be in TV times long gone by. This adds to the amusement – at least to mine ;-)
At the time, the films of Monkey Tale were taken out to schools by traffic officers, and a generation of pupils laughed at the antics of Charley and his family. At the same time they learned valuable lessons on road safety.
The performing chimpanzees were from Auckland Zoo and were trained by a Mr Horribin who appears in the film as an angry man in a car. At some point the chimps retired to Orewa Marineland. There they performed their bike rides well into the 1960’s.
Admission to the museum is free.
The Otago Settlers Museum is next to the Railway Station. If you face the Railway Station it is to your right, just past the carpark.
Photo 2 shows me glued to the TV screen, watching the chimps cycling and a policeman getting mad.
Dunedin has some superb beaches. Head South of the city to places like Brighton Beach and the Taieri Mouth, and find sweeping, pristine, empty beaches within easy reach. Closer to the city are popular beaches such as St Clair and St Kilda. Travel further South, along the Southern Scenic Route and you will find the wilder beaches of the Caitlins Coast, one of my favourite parts of New Zealand. If you head North of the city you can find off the beaten path places places like Blueskin Bay. A little over an hour North of Dunedin is the pretty fishing village of Moeraki with it's famous Boulders.
Walks around Dunedin and on Otago Peninsula
With a little bit of imagination you will find out where the walks on Otago Peninsula start, and then you just have to follow the signs. For tramping in the hills north of Dunedin you will need a map, otherwise you will not make your way to the tracks. I purchased the "Walking Guide to Dunedin" for NZ$3.50 (2006) at the Visitor Centre on the Octagon.
The map holds exact descriptions of the 13 walks, and gives information about animals and plants. And last but not least, with this map you will be able to navigate your way by car to the top of Mt. Cargill which offers a fantastic view over the whole area. (It is the access to the A.H. Reed walk.)
My favourite walks, however, are on Otago Peninsula.
The Sandfly Bay walk (via Highcliff Rd, turn right at Seal Point Rd) really is something. First thing from the carpark you have to walk down a steeeeeeep sand dune. Some people take a plastic bag and slide down on it. Cross over to the beach at the bottom and walk along the sea. Then follow the sign uphill through the dunes to the penguin hide at the end of the beach. If you are lucky you can spot Yellow-Eyed Penguins from there and sea lions on the rocks. Take binoculars with you if you have some! The way back is strenious. You remember, the steeeeep dune...
If you are very energetic you can connect to the Sandymount walks (summit, Lovers Leap and The Chasm which lead to volcanic rock formations). Otherwise you get there from Highcliff and Sandymount Rd.
A short stroll uphill from Highcliff Rd. shortly after the city limits, leads to the Soldier's Monument, visible from afar. The track leads through gorse, the views are fantastic.
One of my favourites is not mentioned in the map. It starts at the end of Dick Rd which you either reach from the Papanui Inlet Rd or Weir Rd east of Portobello. It leads to The Pyramides which are two such shaped hills and a beach which is home to sea lions. Along the path are great info signs about the animals and vegetation. The beach itself is also wonderful.
The Royal Albatross Centre
Jac and I drove to the end of the Peninsula and were elated to have reached our destination. The Royal Albatross Centre is the only mainland colony of breeding albatross. We entered the free area as the entry fee was rather steep. An adult had to pay NZ$35 and child NZ$17 for a tour of the Albatross centre and Fort Taiaroa.
So seeing them at the free area is good enough for me. We even had enough time to prance around the hills facing the sea, enjoyed the wind and the occasional flight of an albatross.
The railway station in Anzac Square is a beautiful building. it was too large to get into one shot so had to take photo's of it in stages.
However this photo shows you most of the station.
Inside there is some beautiful tiling, both on the floor, and walls, and very decorative.