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Driving Creativity: Day One

Dunedin, New Zealand's oldest city, is filled with hidden delights, nooks and crannies. Nicky Rennie takes MiNDFOOD on a tour of her home town, with a little help from Mercedes-Benz

Driving Creativity: Day One

Every now and then the planets align and you get an amazing combination of things you love all in one weekend.
One such weekend I was given the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 Coupé to drive while unearthing the delights of Dunedin.

I thought I loved my city before this, but I was positively euphoric having the chance to drive around it in this most stylish and luxurious of vehicles. It is often said that Dunedin can be a harsh environment to live in, but the people here are made of stern stuff. It is also said that the weather makes them so. This harsh environment can be tough on vehicles. Many a clutch has been burned out waiting at the lights on one of the many hills gracing the landscape. So it was with intrigue and excitement that I received my briefing from the team at Armstrong Prestige, then took to the road.

DAY ONE

To call the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 Coupé understated is a disservice. However, the simple elegance with which it has been put together warrants a mention. The car has everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t; the result is a feeling of paramount safety and comfort the minute you begin your drive. This is ideal in a city such as Dunedin where the roads demand serious attention.

One place I want to go to really see how beautifully the Coupé handled is the Otago Peninsula. This road requires your senses to be on high alert as it hugs the side of Highcliff (home to Larnach Castle) with its sheer drop to the harbour.

But before that, the first stop is the iconic Dunedin Railway Station, one of the most photographed buildings in the country. This heritage building is the venue for the iD Dunedin Fashion shows – with a spectacular catwalk running the length of the railway platform.

Fashion Week has a huge positive economic impact on the city and many top designers hail from Dunedin, including Tanya Carlson, NOM*d and the wonderful Donna Tulloch of Mild-Red, to name a few.

Only a two-minute walk away is the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, which was completely renovated in 2011. Within it is the history of the early settlers and how we, as a people in our tūrangawaewae, have developed.

Another must-see destination is the Dunedin Chinese Gardens. This serene oasis pays tribute to the strong relationship Otago has with the early Chinese settlers. My next destination is the Ahi Māori Art Gallery, home to a traditional Māori tattoo artist and carver, Ben Te Aika, who teaches the art of pounamu and wood carving. The drive is seamless to the Otago Peninsula. The car has an innate sense of its own handling; as it begins to rain the windscreen wipers start all by themselves!

Read more about Nicky’s experience, including the final days of her home tour, in the Jan/Feb issue of MiNDFOOD – on sale now.

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