Where We Be
|Oamaru, Dunedin, & Te Anau, New Zealand
January 15 — Blue Penguins of Oamaru
Blue penguins are what puts the town of Oamaru
on the map. Only 10 inches tall, they’re the smallest
penguins in the world and are sometimes called
fairy penguins. They’re undeniably adorable.
Around 8 pm we drove to the Visitor Center for the
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, paid our entrance
fee, and were admitted to an outdoor tiered
seating area looking down on a lonely stretch of
beach. The beach was lit by sodium lighting, which
we can see by but the penguins can't. Around 9 pm
(earlier than usual), fifteen penguins made their
appearance. We saw their heads bobbing towards
shore, then they body-surfed onto the beach riding
tiny waves. They got tumbled around by the next
set of waves (cute!), then waddled onto the shore
and stood there flapping their stubby wings and
preening in a huddled group. The funniest moment
came once they made their way up the beach and
stood at its edge. Then small "platoons" of three or
four penguins would hurry forward at a surprisingly
fast waddle across an open stretch of terrain
before disappearing into the cover of the forest.
January 16 — Dunedin & the Otago Peninsula
Situated right next to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula
is famous for its beautiful coastal scenery and
wildlife. The road is sinuous and narrow. We wound
past inlets, coves, and promontories, sticking
close to the water's edge the whole way. “My Aunt
Dot would have loved this!” Robin exclaimed.
Frankly, who wouldn’t? It was a sunny day with lone
sailboats cruising on sparkling blue water, canoes
moored to picturesque waterside cabins on stilts,
and pull-offs offering postcard-worthy vistas.
January 17-18 — Te Anau
It took four hours to drive from Dunedin to Te Anau
along Routes 1 and 94. Our path made a gentle arc,
southwest and then west, across the southern
portion of the South Island. The road was curvy
most of the way, bending around emerald green
hillsides dotted with thousands of sheep. Te Anau
is a lush green place courtesy of all the rain it gets.
We have our own little “cabin” at Barnyard Back-
packers with en-suite bathroom, wood-beamed
ceiling, picture windows, and the most amazing
views. What a great place! Our cabin is in a row of
cabins that sit on a flat, grassy ridge overlooking a
long green valley. You can hear sheep “baah-ing”
in the meadow below. Deer are kept in enclosures
lower down. As the sun sets, every occupant of
every cabin sits outside watching the spectacle.
|Amazing view from our cabin at Barnyard Backpackers in Te Anau
|Standing on one of the Boulders of Moeraki near Oamaru
|A drive along the Otago Peninsula offers serene views like this one
|The view at sunset from our cabin -- nice!
|Robin took this lovely photo on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. Notice the omnipresent sheep grazing the green hillside across the water.
|These spherical boulders are over 60 million years old
|Pamphlet from Visitor Center
|A slice of New Zealand's unspoiled eastern coastline
|Lake Te Anau sits at the center of the town of Te Anau
|Our own little cabin at Barnyard Backpackers just outside Te Anau
|Blue penguins, also called fairy penguins, are the smallest in the world (Note: NOT my photo)