The pipes are calling
Trip Start Nov 30, 2010
48Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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Once the largest city in NZ during the Gold Rush years now the 5th biggest city as it didn't expand as expected. NZ's own little Edinburgh including it's own Fringe Festival. A small sprawling city but the city centre quite compact around the Octagon and a statue of Robbie Burns looking down, it felt distinctly homely as the centre was alive with sounds of bagpipes and drums, we had arrived the weekend of the Pipe Band competition and bands from all over the South had gathered to parade the streets around the Octagon. The place was buzzin, all it lacked was Scottish dancing which I was happy to provide after a couple of beers.! A party atmosphere pervaded the streets. We were impressed with some of the architecture, Victorian and Edwardian structures of some stature particularly the railway station
Blue penguins burrow in the sand dunes and stay there while they molt, we got a glimpse of one in its nest., they are so small and very sweet. We will see more of these when we go to Oamaru.
The yellow eyed penguins run the gauntlet from the sea to the grassy slopes past sleeping sea lions, then incredibly climb the hillside up to their nests well away from sleeping sea lions where they happily share the slopes with the sheep.. They are so comical as they appear to be standing around in family groups having a chat.
The sea lions roll around the sand making themselves comfortable for a good sleep before returning on the tide to go fishing again. Several bull lions majestically sprawled out on the sand and some smaller younger seals cuddled up to them occasionally having a playfight with another young seal or chasing tourists down the beach!
We also visited the only Royal Albatross colony in the world based on mainland. They are magnificent birds with a wingspan of 3.0 -3.3 metrees and we learned a lot from our guide. They apparently don' t touch down on land from one breeding season to the next and fledged birds spend their first five years either in the air or on water befored touching back down on their homeland. We saw many birds in flight and some nesting, fascinating!