Dunedin - penguins, sea lions and albatross...oh my

Dunedin Travel Blog

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Sandfly beach

After driving south from the boulders, I pulled into Dunedin well after dark and crashed at the nearest motel.  I was utterly exhausted by this point and don't even remember going to sleep.  The next morning, waking quite early before the sun, I checked out and drove up the Otego peninsula to see the penquins, albatross, and sea lions.  That was my goal anyway.  The hotel proprietor told me the best place to see the penguins was Pilot beach...of course the furthest away.  In hindsight, I should have gone directly to Sandfly beach, my original plan.  Pilot beach was loaded with albatross, but not a single penguin was there.  I was quite disappointed.

Sandfly beach
  I raced over to Sandfly beach after making a few false turns and got there around 45 minutes after sunrise.  Probably too late for the penguins who only waddle to beach just before first light.  From the so-called carpark to the beach was a long and steep climb down a sand dune.  I ran down it and only at the bottom realized that my camera had fallen out of my coat pocket!  I was very upset and crawled all the way back to the top but couldn't find the camera that probably got buried in the sand.  About 30 more minutes of seaching and wearing myself out climbing up and down the sand dunes while retracing my steps I finally spotted the thing, which was no worse for the wear.  (I still have and reguarly use the camera to this day as of 2013).
Nugget Point
  By the time I got to the beach, panting and sweaty, the penguins were long gone, but as a consolation prize, I did get to spend some quality up-close time with a pack of sea lions who were braying loudly and playing with each other.  They looked a bit dangerous, so I only got within about 20 feet of them. 

After I resigned myself to disappointment over the penguins, I decided that since I'd be driving pretty close to Nugget Beach anyway, I'd drive there and see the site that is most famous for its yellow-eye penguins.  Maybe by some miracle I'd get lucky there.

I got to Nugget Beach around 10:30 and headed straight for the penguin viewing area.  Just when I had the beach in my sights, sure enough, I saw one last little penguin who must have gotten up late that day waddle up to the water and jump in.   I just had time to view it in my binoculars, but not enough time to get close for a photo.  Well, better one far away than none at all.  Feeling somewhat satisfied now, my next stop would be in famous Milford Sound where I had a cruise lined up for tomorrow.  That left me only today to drive there, so unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of sticking around til early evening to see the penguins return.  Again, in hindsight, I should have just stayed afterall.  This great weather was about to change and throw all my carefully chosen plans completely out the window, messing up the rest of my trip......

anupa_rk says:
Hope you got to see some penguins later in the trip!
Posted on: Mar 23, 2013
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Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Albatross at Pilot Beach, Otago pe…
Albatross at Pilot Beach, Otago p…
Otago peninsula
Otago peninsula
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
View of Dunedin from Otago
View of Dunedin from Otago
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Nugget Point
Nugget Point
Near Gore (on the road to Milford)
Near Gore (on the road to Milford)
Sandfly beach
Sandfly beach
Dunedin
photo by: crystalware