Posted by: dammer145 | November 10, 2008

Dunedin, home of the brave

Today we would visit Dunedin, home of many Scottish settlers in earlier centuries.

We had some breakfast and drove into the centre of town. We parked next to the beautiful station, apparently one of the most photographed buildings in the southern hemisphere (I’m not quite sure where the guide-book got those statistics). The centre of Dunedin is not very big, but the streets are layed out in an octagonal form, with at the centre a square where all public transport converges. The square also houses a large statue of Scottish poet Burns, an homage to the towns roots.

Dunedin Station.

Since we’d been on holiday for a while, my beard was starting to look a bit scruffy. We came across a barber shop, so I had the full do!

We passed by the tourist information centre and then headed for lunch. We ended up inside a restaurant called Scotia inside the station building. I had haggis (what else) and Anouk decided to try some local specialities.

In the afternoon, we had a wildlife trip booked. Close to Dunedin were colonies of albatross, sea lions and the almost-extinct yellow-eyed penguins. There were about ten of us on the trip, and we were picked up in the centre of town by bus. Soon we headed off into the Dunedin hills, high above the town with a lovely view of the surroundings.

Looking down on Dunedin.

First we went to the albatross colonies. We saw a few flying, they are enormous. Albatrosses can only take off when there is enough wind – unfortunately the wind dropped soon after we arrived, and didn’t see any more. We set on further towards the sea lions and the penguins.

The guides told us about the conservation efforts that had been going on in the past few years to save the yellow-eyed penguin from the brink of extinction. They had breeding programmes going on and active watches on nests to make sure the eggs survived the incubation periods. They even had camera’s on the nests 24/7 to make sure they were ok.

We arrived at the beach and installed ourselves in the hideouts that had been built there. The penguins go out to sea during the daytime to collect food for their young and return towards the evening. The problem is that their nests are up in the dunes beyond the beach – a beach that is inhabited by 800 kilogram flesh-eating monsters: sea lions.

Penguins and Sheep!

Soon we saw penguins arrive and hurry across the beach (as far as penguins can “hurry” across land). The sea lions didn’t really seem interested though – perhaps they had already gobbled a few up earlier in the day.

Anouk on the lookout for penguins.

A bit further up there was also a colony of seals – they smelt horrible.

By the time we got back to town it was gone 10pm – so we headed to McD’s for dinner!


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