Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
77Trip End Ongoing
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In the afternoon, we joined the Elm Wildlife tour out to the Otago Peninsula
Farther up the beach, the yellow-eyed penguins were making their way up the hills to their nests. Two pairs of chicks, giant brown fluff-balls, waited high on the hillside. The first pair farewelled their parent as it went down to the beach to hunt; the next pair enthusiastically greeting their parent who had returned with a gullet full of fish. Dinner was withheld, however, until the chicks had got their daily exercise; they had to chase their parent up the hill before they were given their meal of regurgitated fish. Back down on the beach, a mated pair exchanged penguin kisses, preening the feathers around the other's eyes.
Another stiff climb and a stiffer descent took us round to the fur seal colony. A tiny pup was suckling from its mother, others lazed about, and a large male looked at us sternly and grunted, letting us know that there would be trouble if we dared to go down the cliff and set foot on his turf.
Our last stop was the albatross sanctuary at Taiaroa Head. The weather was not in our favour for an albatross sighting- ironically there was not enough wind for the albatrosses to come near land. We saw a few flapping about in the distance; more entertaining were the Stewart Island shags zipping in and out of their cliff-side colony, and the spoonbill poking about in the rock pools below.
After all this sightseeing, a rest day seemed in order, and we spent the next day meandering round Dunedin and sipping wine in the Octagon.