After yesterday’s rain we were amazingly lucky to wake up on our only day in Otago to brilliant Sunshine.
As probably mentioned we are spending most of the vacation staying in a diversity of B&B’s. We are actually staying just outside Dunedin at McKaulys B&B, directly on the Otago peninsula (in Portobello) and our day started out with some weirdness. We arrived for breakfast and without asking we had plates of hot rhubarb sponge pudding with ice cream placed in front of us! We ate politely. For “main” we were offered ‘minced lamb wrapped in bacon with garlic mushrooms’, We politely declined and I asked for a fried egg (which came covered in cheese and chives). Very strange.
Anyway, anxious to pack in as much as possible into our day we headed out for some walks on the peninsula. First of all we visited “Lovers Leap” which has some spectacular views off sheer cliffs, so it’s easy to see how they got their name. We took a different return route which took us over a very steep part of the peninsula where we were able to get spectacular 360 deg. Views of the spectacular surrounding landscape.
After a short drive into town to pick up some provisions we headed out to another beach in the hope of catching a glimpse of some local wildlife. No such luck on the wildlife front but we had a some really nice walks out to, firstly Sandfly Bay and then
“the Pyramids” and then onto Victory Beach – a vast expanse of almost completely deserted sand and sea which is about a 45 minute walk from a very small car park (and therefore beyond the mainstream tourist busses).
We had booked a late afternoon wildlife tour with Elm Wildlife tours, the tour starts around 4:00 pm as most of the wildlife starts to emerge in the early evening. We started with a trip to the Albatross centre where it possible to see Albatross either from a relative distance (as we did) or pay an extra $45 and get a little closer (which is simply not worth it).
After the (somewhat underwhelming) Albatross we headed off to Tour Company’s private reserve where we were able to spend a fair bit of time looking at Sea Lions, (rare) Yellow-Eyed Penguins etc. It’s a decent tour with some excellent commentary and insight and it’s possible to get pretty close to the wildlife.
There are lots of opportunities to view wildlife on a tour around the South Island, some of which cost money but there are also plenty of places (especially around Kaikoura) to see for free.
We arrived back at our accommodation around 9:30 feeling like we have done a lot. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day as we have the small matter of 450 km to negotiate. We have some fairly big driving distances on the South Island but we have three nights at our next location so hopefully a little time to relax as well.