I saw PENGUINS!

Dunedin Travel Blog

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a sea lion that hobbled up onto the beach
Yellow-eyed penguins to be exact.  And fur seals and sea lions.  A GIANT sea lion!

Alright, let me set the scene;  We made it to Dunedin that afternoon and met up with Chris again.  He had just got himself a new place and we were settling in when he noticed that it was getting close to penguin spotting time.  So, we piled into the car and drove out to the beach.

The beach was fairly secluded as the sand dunes backing up to it were designated a wild life sanctuary.  For the penguins. 

The only way on to the stretch of beach was to walk down the side of a cliff.  At the far end of the beach was a penguin lookout point where you could sit in a hideout allowing the penguins to emerge from the water in presumed privacy.
a yellow-eyed penguin emerging from the water at dusk
 

On the way to the hideout we bumped into a sea lion basking on the beach.  Well, sleeping.  It had rolled in the sand a bit and so was fairly camouflaged to my untrained eye until someone pointed it out to me.  I thought it was big, but I was about to corrected. 

Later, while perched at the hideout, we were lucky enough to witness a massive sea lion emerge from the water. 

Even Chris, a Dunedin local, was astonished at how large it was.  It rolled about in the water before finally lugging its giant body on to the shore. 

Then, I think it took a nap.  Not so easy to haul that weight around from the looks of it.  After about 10 minutes or so it waddled further on to the beach.  And then it took a nap.  Awesome.
a yellow-eyed penguin hopping on the rocks by the beach


I learned at the hideout that yellow-eyed penguins spend their days feeding the waters and then at around dusk they emerge from the water and waddle up the sand dunes to find a secluded burrow to sleep in safely away from predators.  

Waddle.  And hop. 

It was the cutest thing ever!  I had to try very hard not to shriek with joy when I spotted my first black and white penguin hobbling up the side of the cliff.  And they aren't called yellow-eyed penguins for nothing.  They have bright yellow feathers around their eyes almost making them look like they're wearing yellow masks. 

Waddle waddle, hop hop.

By the time we headed back to the car, even Chris was excited about our awesome sightings.  In total we saw five penguins, including a family of three.  Pappa, momma, and then a kid came out of the water one at a time, each making sure the coast was clear before making the journey.  We had to back off when the nervous little baby penguin refused to walk up the beach because we were too close.  

I heart penguins.
Connie says:
It was Sandfly Bay. I think we were particularly lucky because my friend Chris is a local and I don't think he had seen that many before that day. There's really small so bring binoculars.
Posted on: Oct 22, 2009
jktweed says:
I've lived in Dunedin for almost two years now and I've never seen any penguins! You're so lucky! Do you remember the name of the beach you were at?
Posted on: Oct 21, 2009
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a yellow-eyed penguin hopping on t…
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Dunedin
photo by: crystalware