Right on the south
Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
35Trip End Ongoing
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As we mentioned before, we went to see the penguins in Oamatu. First off, the yellow eyed penguins came ashore about 3 hours before sunset. They are one of the rarest breeds in the world, so we were lucky to see any. We did have to view them from fairly far off, but saw half a dozen or so. At sunset, the blue penguins (or little penguin) come ashore from their day fishing out at sea. They are the worlds smallest penguin, and they all gather just off the beach before coming ashore in 'rafts'. We had to pay to see these, but it was from a grandstand type thing with a commentary (of sorts). It was quite cool seeing all the little things scurrying accross the track to their specially built nesting boxes.
Next day we drove down the coast to Dunedin (Gaelic for Edinburgh!). They seemed very proud of their Scottish roots, with lots of Scottish shops with haggis etc on sale. Here we went round the Cadbury factory (and got lots of 'free' chocolate) then went boozing in preperation for the tour of Speights Brewery the next day. That was a very good tour with loads of history about beer and we got to sample all 6 of the beers brewed on site. That was all very well but we went on the Taieri Gorge Railway in the afternoon, so our sampling made us rather sleepy for the train ride! The Railway is touted as 'one of the world's great train trips' and it lived up to expectations - loads of dramatic viaducts and cliff side track.
After our whistle stop, action packed tour of Dunedin we drove on to Kaka Point, via Otago Peninsula to see the Albatros. However when we got to the Royal Albatros Centre we discovered it was very expensive to have 30 minutes of looking at big birds sat on a cliff, so we had a stroll and saw loads of seals instead. Kaka Point was a lovely little seaside village, with a huge sandy beach (the beaches in NZ are better than in Bali - shame the water is a little cooler!).
Today we drove down to Invercargill on 'Southern Scenic Route' along the Catlins Park area, stopping on the way at Nugget Point (lots more seals) and a petrified forest which was impressive, due the large amount of preserved tree trunks.
P.S. We found 'Gold Rush Indoor Mini Golf' in Dunedin. Level all the way until the final hole - Ed comes out as a clear winner by 6 strokes to pull the series level at 4.5 - 4.5!! Y - there were only 12 holes rather then the standard 18 - sure Ed would have lapsed after a few more shots.