It’s my birthday and I can dictate the program of the day. At first we sleep in, until 9 o’clock! We never sleep that long, seems to be due to the constant air change – from North to South, from West to East … Then Gernot serves a real fine late risers breakfast including anything that is needed. And with an amazing present, a sight-seeing flight from Lake Tekapo across the Southern Alps, booked for the 24th of December. So far the weather forecast looks good. This would be the most extraordinary Christmas eve I ever had.

Later that morning we go to Balclutha, the largest town in this area. What we have already seen of New Zealand: The land itself is no doubt beautiful, the towns are from characterless (in tourist areas) to ugly (outside). Balclutha belongs to the later. The only positive aspect is the large supermarket with a real good assortment. And the small “nice-things”-shop where we find a Fantail made of steel sheet – Fantails are currently my favourite birds.

In the afternoon we start for a trip into nature. We leave our car on the car park at Roaring Bay and walk the last part of the track up to Nugget Point. The trail to the lighthouse is a highlight itself – stunning views along the Catlins coast, a lot of birds and of course seals. Bright sunshine, we got the right day for this excursion.

Of course afterwards we are also going down to Roaring Bay. This is what I had wished for my birthday: Standing in the little hut and watching penguins. Well, they don’t crowd this beach, nevertheless we see three of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin or Hoiho. It looks so cute how they waddle up the beach into the bushes! I don’t want to leave but there are quiet a lot of people coming down now, so we go back to the car.

The gravel road back to Kaka Point leads all along the beach. Driving past I see a pair of oyster catchers with two chicks. So – their offspring now has also hatched. I try to get closer to take some photos but the father starts to bluster like mad – we already know that behaviour. OK, if it does not want to be photographed we leave the family alone.

Back in our apartment our landlady surprises me with a self-made chocolate cake for birthday – this I had expected least of all. We had decided to fly away as far as we could for my 50th birthday but somehow it is nice if somebody else thinks of it.

Tour Guide

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