Sheep on the Beach

This post is not all about sheep. Or beaches.

But there are lots of pictures of both. 

Just so you know.


On Friday, we woke up to this:

And then, (depressed we were leaving...) we packed our suitcases and prepared for the five hour drive from Dunedin to Christchurch. But first, there were a few things that piqued our interest in our travels the day before, so we decided to do a bit of exploring before we left Dunedin just yet. The first was a repeat drive of Highcliff Road.

This picture is looking down on Otago Harbour from Highcliff Road. You can see Portobello Road there on the edge of the harbour; it literally follows the shape of the water. Here's a little trivia for you: it takes about an hour to drive from the center of Dunedin to Taiaroa Head where the harbour meets the ocean. Just from about halfway along to the ocean there are something like 52 curves! And in some places, the "padding" between you and water is about 18 inches.

We drove along Hooper's Inlet to Allen's Beach, a secluded strip of beach our B&B hosts recommended. We hiked through a few fields to get there, and when we arrived we found this trail to the water. (Note that it is mainly hoof prints!)

By this time in our trip, I was really missing the boys.

How cool is that humongous tree on the hillside?!

In places like these, it was very easy to tell that New Zealand was created by underwater volcanoes. There are still two active volcanoes on the northern island, and several dormant ones on the southern island. Most of the rock formations on the beach were clearly lava rock.

We got pretty excited when we saw this sign. But alas, no penguins today.

Wait. What are those things over there on that sand dune?



And now you know why I titled this one "Sheep on the Beach."

We walked about a mile down the beach and back, and then headed back out to Taiaroa Head. Just as we rounded the last bend on our way to the visitor center parking, we saw this:

Finally, an albatross!

I wanted so badly to see on while we were in New Zealand. There's just something so special about being able to see native creatures free, as opposed to in a zoo.

That's a 10-foot wingspan...(1-1/2 Kylers!) 
And they were so graceful looking!


On our long drive up to Christchurch, it rained buckets. But that didn't stop us from getting out of the car! We stopped at least five times along various spots on the coast, looking for seals, sea lions, and penguins. We weren't disappointed!

He was waving at me. See?

We headed into Oamaru right at sunset, and as of yet, no penguins. Discouraged, we drove in the direction of the wharf. We'd read on our map about a blue penguin colony right at the end of the wharf, and that they usually come in from fishing and up to their cliff houses at dark. Well, what we found made our hearts sink. Some company had bought the property at the end of the peninsula and fenced the entire thing off. They were charging around $35 per person to come and sit in their bleachers and watch the penguins come in from the ocean and waddle across to their houses. Angry, we were walking back to the car when Kyler saw them. Several tiny blue penguins (about a foot high) wandering around about 20 feet away! At this point, it was pitch black, but I took pictures anyway. I overexposed the pics so you can see the penguins. Minus the whole red-eyes-of-death thing, aren't they precious?

This sign made me happy.


The next morning. 
(Proof that I also drove on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road.)

Next blog is all about Sydney!


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