Otago Peninsula

Today again the sun wakes us up, there is no cloud to be seen in the sky. It is the perfect weather for a nice, long excursion. We want to visit Otago Peninsula, because of the Albatrosses and the sea lions. And as we are already close to it we of course stop in Dunedin (Gaelic for Edinburgh) for a stroll. It is a real town, with a downtown center and old stone buildings, not only wooden ones, with representative facades. We just drift along and already look for a café for dinner later on. There is a Cadbury’s in Dunedin, a visit we at once put on our list for our next holiday in New Zealand, today we are satisfied with the factory outlet.

There aren’t many roads on the peninsula itself, one leads along the coast from Dunedin Harbour, the other one crosses the hills in the middle. We decide to take the lower route, a winding road directly on the waterfront. Besides the narrow course it is much too beautiful here to just rush through. I am glad there is no speeder behind me and take my time. We spare the detour to Larnach Castle, the only castle in New Zealand. They did not even react to my enquiry concerning accommodation, we don’t want to go there. We stop not before we reach the end of the route on the tip of the peninsula where we reach our destination, the Albatros colony.

The Royal Albatros Center takes care of the birds that are unfortunately very much endangered by fishery. We don’t want to take part in the guided tour, we just look around a bit. We stand on the hills for a long time to watch the birds – a real lot of birds! Two different kinds of seagulls, the Red Bill Seagull you can now see with their chicks; and Cormorans – what a noise in the air! The seagulls flutter against the wind on their own, the Cormorans pass us again and again in a V-formation. And then we see it, our first Albatros. You recognize it at once, they are giants. They do not have to flap their wings, they just let themselves be carried on the wind. It is difficult to take photos, we got numerous pictures of blue sky without anything else afterwards.

As long as the birds still breed they are constantly sitting on the nest and you barely see some of them in the sky. We are lucky: The chicks have already hatched and the parents have to look for food. We stand still with bright eyes and enjoy this gorgeous picture.

On our way back we make a detour to Allans Beach. A short track leads to the beach where you can see sea lions most of the time. One end of the bay is protected by large rocks, that’s where we go. At first we only see rocks but then we recognize some of them moving – sea lions indeed! We don’t go on, you always read “please leave the animals alone”, not at last for your own safety. You can also take nice photos using your zoom. Regrettably there are other beach walkers who obviously have not read the information board. It gets too busy here, we draw back. Besides, the tide is coming in, with the water getting closer and closer to the rocks. You already have to wait for the right moment to quickly pass the narrow point between two waves.

We now urgently have to refuel but somehow on our way through the town we cannot find a filling station. Kilometers further down the road, already passed Dunedin Airport in the middle of loneliness of all things there is a small, free gas station. You never know what it is good for: Here they still serve their customers and of course the nice lady notices our mishap with the missing tank cap. She has got one in her stocks that fits!


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