Having left Dunedin we continued north up the east coast and made a stop off in a very small village called Moeraki to see the much talked about Moeraki boulders, the village is so small there are a couple of houses and a cafe right next to the Moeraki boulders cashing in as they charge people to cross their land to the beach to see the boulders. Even though you can walk another 20 minutes down the coast and get access to the beach there without paying anyone, needless to say we walked a bit further and didn't pay. The large collection of sphere boulders sit on a lovely stretch of beach like giant kids discarded marbles, they are all sizes and make a great photo. They are so bizarre, some of them have broken apart looking like a hatched egg, which of course would have been a crime not to stand inside for a silly picture. Once the other tourists saw Justin and I climb in they all followed suit. We were lucky to visit at low tide so we could get right up close to them, although at high tide they look like they are floating in the water.
We then decided to stop the night in a town called Oamoru or Penguintown as it’s called, this would be our last chance to spot the yellow eyed penguin on the coast, and it didn’t take us long to realise this town is all about penguins. It has two breeding colonies, the yellowed eyed penguin and Blue Penguin (smallest penguin in the world). We asked the lady at the information site how we go about viewing them. She was really helpful and gave us the best times to view. Because the yellow eyed penguin is so rare we took her advice and headed to Bushy beach for 6pm complete with our packed a lunch. There was a walkway along the cliff edge which took us to a few viewing decks and a viewing hut. We sat for about 40 minutes and we saw nothing, then just as we were going to head back to the car to eat a couple told us there was one sat on the cliff edge, so we walked along and saw it just sitting there, it was a really special moment. We had our tea in the car and as we walked back out a guy said he saw two walking in from the sea over the sand, so we were determined to see one. We waited about 20 minutes then all of a sudden I spotted one on the shoreline it jumped out of the water and waddled across the sand to the cliff edge, it was so cute to watch and we both felt very privileged. As we walked back to the car we noticed that the one that was sat on the cliff earlier was snuggled up with its partner so we hide and watched them for ages. We were grinning like Cheshire cats as we drove to the Blue penguin colony, it is in an old limestone quarry down near the waterfront.
There is a visitor’s centre which has a viewing deck, and at approximately 8pm every night the penguins come home to their babies and partners with food, they spend the whole day out at sea catching fish and they like to arrive back to their nests under the shadow of dark. The Blue penguin is the smallest in the world and approximately 250 arrive home every night, counted by a patient member of staff. They swim ashore in groups of about 20 and you can see them approaching, they look like a raft as they approach then jump out of the water and slip, slide, scuttle and waddle ashore, it is so funny to watch and they were making such a noise, it was almost as if they were having a god old chat about the day they just had. They run into their enclosure and then into their little wooden huts for the night. We watched about 80-100 came in and what was cute was the first group waited for the second group before heading off into the enclosure, they are very sociable creatures and like to stick together. As we left and walked back to the car we noticed there was two in the car park huddled up in the corner, obviously got lost an the guide told us happens all the time, we drove by as we didn’t want to scare them by taking photographs. This was defiantly one of the best night we have had and so rewarding.