The Other 1 (northbound)
Here the itinerary is described south-to-north, for the other direction see The Other 1.
Highway 1 is mostly two-lane but average speeds are high, so this itinerary aims to create a slower-speed touring route serving the main destinations. In many cases the route given here is the old highway, so the itinerary is like Route 66. The recommended route is no more than 5 or so km to one or other side of the highway and does not use any gravelled roads. The intention is to create a route ideal for campervans and people admiring the view (and get these slowpokes off the main highway!).
Destinations (south to north)
Dunedin to Oamaru
Dunedin's main highway is in the form of a pair of one-way streets. Staright ahead instead of left up the big hill out of town will lead you to Dunedin's early northern suburb North East Valley.
Halfway up the valley on the right is Baldwin Street, the 'world's steepest street'. Great for a demonstration of bravado: there's a drinking fountain and seat at the top.
North Road climbs up the head of the valley, to join Mount Cargill Road. This is the old State Highway 1 bypassed in the late 1950s.
Mount Cargill Road rejoins the Highway at Waitati. The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a major wildlife project under construction here. Just north of here, take the right turn at Evansdale on to Coast Road.
Coast Road, an old highway out of Dunedin, heads alongside Blueskin Bay to Warrington. Just after the last rail crossing as you leave Warrington, there's a historic church on the right. St Barnabas Church is set in a wooded cemetery. If the building is open, check out the polished wood interior and stained glass windows.
Coast Road continues through farmland towards Seacliff, the site of an old mental hospital, mostly demolished due to land instability around here. There's a backpacker hostel (The Asylum) in the remaining buildings and the old hospital grounds are open to the public. New Zealand writer Janet Frame was a patient here.
This is one of the earlier farming districts of the European settlers. Karitane is an old whaling port and now has a small fishing port.
The Highway is rejoined just north of here, heading into Waikouaiti. Check out the oldest buildings in this district, Matanaka Farm – the best bit is the homely 3-seater toilet (a big one for the papa, a middle-sized one for the mama... ).
At Goodwood look out for a hard right off the highway onto the loop road to Palmerston: it's three sides of a square but a nice bit of motoring, and comes the back way into Palmerston where the highway is rejoined. North of the town centre take a left on to Horse Range Road (before the Highway crosses the railway on a bridge).
This diversion climbs over the Horse Range through limestone country. Trotters Gorge has bush walks and a picnic area. The highway avoided by this diversion has its own scenic good points, running along the beachfront for most of the way, so keep it in mind on the way back.
The inland route rejoins Highway 1 for a short section. The highway follows the coast north to the Moeraki Boulders a worthwhile get-out-and-walk look at some interesting geological freaks.
Hampden (pronounced Hamden) on the highway has a fish and chips shop, pub and cleanish public toilets.
At Waianakarua, there's a severe right turn to Kakanui, straight after crossing a humpy bridge (a historic stone arch and worth a quick look after negotiating the junction).
Follow the coastline to Kakanui, a small fishing port and holiday town.
The coastal route brings you in past Oamaru's harbour to the historic town centre of restored Victorian stone buildings. This is well worth a 10 minute get-out-and-walk.Little Blue Penguins come ashore just south of here every day around dusk.