Castle and more nature and animal experiences
16.11.2012 - 16.11.2012 16 °C
First destination for the day was to visit New Zealand's only castle, the Larnach Castle. Build in 1871 it laid on top of the hill looking over Dunedin and the whole Otago Peninsula. Amazing view from the top of the tower and a beautiful flowering garden with all kinds of flowers and trees. Interesting history and story behind the founder and it was very well preserved and restored. Back to Dunedin, down the hill overlooking the harbour and to the hotel for a short rest and change of clothes.
Next adventure was to go further out on the Peninsula to the very end of it. Got pickeup by the wildlife tour minibus at the hotel and headed out along the waterline. Got dropped of to board a boat to go for an hour long trip around the Taiaroa Head to look at the albatross colony from the water, see these magnificant bird glide over my heads and land safely on the hill side in the hard wind. I also saw Black Backed Gull, Royal Spoonbill, Spotted Shag, Little Shag, Stewart Island Shag, Northern Giant Petrel, Sea lion, Furseal and a group of Dusky dolphins. Great trip of animal experience including a very bumpy trip on the water. With safe land under my feet again we drove to the other side of the Peninsula to look at a furseal colony and a Black backed gull colony. Great overview from a hutt and as close as 10m from the colonies. Then we walked over grass covered hills through sheep paddocks to the other side and walked down towards the beach where we were going to look at sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins. On the way down, four yellow-eyed penguins came towards us on the path. Totally unafraid of us when we passed them on a side track and followed them up the path. Suddenly they turned back and came towards us again. They stopped by the main group and stood looking at them from one meter. I was 10 m from the group when they came towards me and stopped right in front of me just a meter away. For 3-4 minutes they stood there calling and trying to impress each other. I got some great shots which you can see in the pictures. What an amazing near contact experience!!! I will never forget it! So Cool!!! This was followed by close meeting of the sealion along the beach and see when the yellow-eyed penguins came in from the sea, rested on the hill side before climbing up the hill to their nests. Finally we went to a hutt with an overview over the beach which also had a camera set up to film two nests. In one of them there was a 3-day old chick and one egg. On the way back to the minibus I got a look at some Blue penguins in their nesting boxes. After 6 hours in the harsh nature weather I felt windswept and cold so I finished the day with a hot jacuzzi bath thinking of the totally wonderful and amazing animal experiences I've seen.