12.08.2008 68 °F
Sunday I left Queenstown and headed to Dunedin. Dunedin has a strong Scottish presence in the city. Dunedin was also the first city in New Zealand and is one of the major cities in Southern New Zealand. Around Dunedin has the largest variety of wildlife in the South Island. In the afternoon I went to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory which is in the heart of Dunedin. We went on a short tour because the factory does not run on Sunday’s. I do not think the 12 dollars that I spent was worth just seeing a Chocolate Waterfall and a brief video. The Chocolate Waterfall is for show and it has 1 ton of chocolate. They only change the chocolate once a year in the waterfall (it is obviously just for show). We got some free candy and a lot of candy I tried is not available in the United States.
Mel is the Cadbury's mascot and I asked why he was named Mel but the tour guide said no reason. I don't believe him.
In the afternoon I went on an Elm Wildlife Tour on the Otago Peninsula. During the tour I was able to observe many of the rarest, the largest, and smallest of their species.
During the tour we had to go on some windy roads I thought for sure someone would have gotten sick. Luckily we all made it okay.
The tour went through some walking tracks across farmland. When they told us to wear warm clothing they were not kidding. Also, when booking the tour you had to be at a reasonable fitness level for the tour and that was no joke. I cannot believe the walking we did up and down very steep hills. The tour lasted for about 6 hours.
We first stopped to see some birds and for the life of me I cannot remember the names of all the birds we saw. Then we headed to go see some seals, sea lions, and penguins. We went on a private land that they are permitted to access. The wind on top of the farms was incredible. At some points I felt like wind was going to blow me away.
We got to see fur seals that were only one day old.
There are only 170 sea lions in New Zealand and only 20 of them are female. So there are a lot of male sea lion fights. The sea lion believe it or not can run 20 kilometers per hour which if I did my calculation correctly it comes to about 13 miles per hour. Our tour guide told me that he gets chased by one at least once a week. He said the day before our tour a girl got too close to one on the beach and the sea lion went after her and he had to jump in the middle. The sea lion will attack fur seals by the throat and throwing the seal against the rocks until the skin cuts open and then slides the skin off. I had no idea that sea lions could be so vicious. Well this is the sea lion that went after the girl the other day....and I was 10 feet away from him. Our guide said he thinks that the sea lion is probably around 300 lbs or so.
I saw many yellow eyed penguins on the beach. This was just amazing to see penguins in their natural habitat. I actually got to see penguin poop which is actually white if the poop is green then the penguin has a life threatening infection. If the poop is yellow that means that the Penguin has an infection. Recently, they lost a lot of baby penguins because of a life threatening infection.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Did you ever think you would see Sheep and Penguins together? Neither did I...until I saw this.
The tour then took us to see some Royal Albatross birds. The Albatross colony on the tip of the Otago Penninsula is the only mainland breeding colony for any albatross bird in the southern hemisphere. The Albatross wings can be 9’6” across, they can also fly up to 72mph. The albatross only live in the southern hemisphere. The Albatross can fly up to 6 years without ever touching land. All albatross birds are endangered because of the long line fishing.
Just when I think that New Zealand cannot get more beautiful it does my trip to Dunedin has been amazing….I love the scenery and the wildlife. I really think that I would move to Otago Penninsula in a heartbeat. I am not sure what I would do for a living….maybe I could start a sheep farm (Hee, Hee).