South Island Road Trip 6 - Otago Peninsula - 45:46.4S, 170:43.7E
From Milford Sound our next destination was Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. We had an overnight stop in Lumsden, where you can camp for free in the carpark in the town centre using the picnic tables and wash up facilities laid on in the old railway station and spent Tuesday night in a motor camp just outside Dunedin. Dunedin was founded by whalers, gold-miners and Scottish migrants, and has lots of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, but what we were really there for was the Royal Albatross colony at the end of Otago Peninsula.
The drive out to the end of the Peninsula was along a road that hugged the side of the land, until we reached Taiaroa Head, home to the worlds only colony of Royal Albatrosses on the mainland. Their life is amazing: when the chicks fly the nest they will not touch land again for 5 years and in that time they will fly all the way round the world. They generally mate for life, and produce one egg every other year – needing a ‘holiday’ from the work of rearing a baby before they start again. They can lock their wings, which gives them the amazing ability to glide. We were luck to have 3 young birds flying round throughout our visit.
The road round Otago Peninsula is right at the edge
Before it first flies and Albatross chick weighs more than its parents. This one is only 4 weeks old.
We had another chance to watch fur seals sunning and playing.
We had a night on a lovely campsite at Portobello on the Peninsula, then drove 25 km north of Dunedin to visit Murray and Jennie, a sailing couple we had met when we first arrived in New Zealand who have an amazing property where they live off the grid. They produce there own power from solar panels and from a miniature hydro electric system, collect water from the roof and the stream and have trees to create a carbon sink.
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