Tag Archives: fur seal

Otago

A few weeks ago, we finally made it to the nearest big city of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula.  As usual, the weather was alternately windy, sunny, rainy and grey.  We had been looking forward to visiting Dunedin as it was our first choice of a place to temporarily live in New Zealand, based on a visit our friends Marian and Eric made here several years ago.  But, it also seems that there are a lot of people who would like to live in Dunedin, so it didn’t come to fruition for us.

 

 

Dunedin is a more cosmopolitan city than Invercargill, but that’s expected.  Invercargill is a smaller and more agricultural city.  Dunedin also has the oldest university in New Zealand – University of Otago.  I’ve been trying to encourage the older son to study there for a semester, but I don’t think that it’s going to happen while we’re here.  And, Dunedin is nestled amongst the hills and harbor and has a more three-dimensional feeling to it.   But, some of those hills are pretty steep.  In fact, Dunedin boasts the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street – which we walked up & down and drove up & down (driving was much more fun).  The main reason that we did visit Dunedin was because it was raining on the Otago Peninsula.  🙂

 

 

Most of our time was spent on the Otago Peninsula, which bills itself, along with Dunedin, as New Zealand’s ecotourism capitol.  Getting around the Otago Peninsula is slow – the roads are narrow and winding.  But, that’s OK because the views were spectacular!  We drove on the harbor side coast rode through Portobello a few times, and up and over Highcliff Road which sort over crosses on the central spine of the Otago Peninsula.  At the tip of the Otago Peninsula, Tairoa Head, we visited the Royal Albatross Centre.  But, our favorite places to visit on the Otago Peninsula were Sandfly Bay (twice) and Allan’s Beach.  Why?  First, the kids could run around to their hearts content, dig in the sand and enjoy a bit of the surf (even if the water is a bit chilly).  Second, we were able to see yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho) returning to their nests (keep your distance!), and there were Hooker’s Sea Lions (whakahao) basking on the beach and even a New Zealand Fur Seal (kekeno) enjoying the rocks.  In spite of his ugly teeth and terrible hygiene, the old bull sea lion was the highlight of my weekend…

 

 

As usual, enjoy the galleries!

 

 

46 S EnZed signing off…

 

 

Otago

 

 

 

New Zealand Fur Seal

 

 

 

Hooker’s Sea Lions

 

Posted in Dunedin, New Zealand, Otago Peninsula Also tagged , , , , |

Catlins III

So, this post is mostly a few photographs from a day trip earlier this month to The Catlins.  Asta had to work on the weekend, so Aras, Julija and I ventured eastward for the day to discover a couple of more places on our “to-do” list.  There’s a photo gallery at the bottom of this page.

 

 

The first place we stopped was Slope Point.  There’s nothing particularly remarkable about Slope Point – it looks pretty much the same as the rest of the southern coast – rocky, wet, waves, gulls, etc.  One noticeable difference is that it was a gorgeous, sunny day!  What Slope Point is known for is being the southern-most point in “mainland” New Zealand.  Stewart Island is definitely further south, but Slope Point is the furthest point on the South Island.  We (i.e., “I”) were hoping to walk across a farmer’s sheep paddock to get all the way to the coast, except it’s “lambing season” now, which means that some of the tramps across farmland are off limits during September and October, while the ewes are birthing their lambs during the austral spring.

 

 

Our second major stop was Nugget Point.  It’s a pretty place on the SE coast of the South Island.  There’s a nice lighthouse at the end of Nugget Point, and a very pleasant walk to get there. Nugget Point is named this way because of the “nuggets” (small islands) that sit just offshore of the point.   One of the other great things about Nugget Point is that this was our first place to see New Zealand fur seals!  There also is a yellow-eyed penguin rookery on Nugget Point, but we were there just a bit too early in the season and day to see the penguins.  We’re hoping to see more penguins on our next trips when we get to the coast.

 

 

Today, Sunday, September 30th, we’re “celebrating” Julija’s kiwi pox (a.k.a., chicken pox, varicella).  Julija came to me as we were getting ready for bed on Thursday night and asked what the spots were on her belly and hip.  (Aras & Julija are now between their third and fourth school terms – sort of a two-week spring break.)  This was after I had spent much of the day planning part of our first big trip around the South Island – Invercargill to Dunedin to Oamaru to Christchurch to Kaikoura and more.  I’d booked a couple of hotels and a whale-watching tour.  Oh well.  The good news is that I’ve been able to find a sweet deal on a campervan rental, so we’ll not contaminate hotels and tourists on the whale-watching tour.  But, we’ll still get out and do some hiking, sight-seeing, etc.

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