Otago Peninsula Eco sanctuary

This is one of a series of stories written for us by UK based customers Glynis and Graham, following their travels around New Zealand last Summer.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do...

Today was just lovely

We woke up to a hot sunny 20 plus degrees and drove along SH1 for a short while over to the other side of the valley from where we  were staying,  following the sign into the hills that said eco sanctuary. We had not seen it advertised anywhere but just followed the signs and we are thrilled that we did.

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A rich man put a huge fence up around the hill opposite the Otago peninsular like the Eden project and then they eradicated all the stoats, possums, rats, mice, etc, and you can only get in through the magic gate. Once you are in you follow the trails and they have feeding sites set up so the native birds are encouraged to stick around and comfy benches and viewing points for quiet people to sit down and marvel. It's like Tim's park but better as it's not really for people and their needs but is very much to protect the fauna and flora. We saw bellbirds, tui and others up close feeding which is not really possible in the real wild although I have fab pix of a tui feeding on Stewart Island. The best thing was the parrots called Kaka (again, pooh!) They were amazing.

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Like the zoo but they are free to fly away if they want. Except the non flyers but they get eaten if they stray outside so they are safer where they are. (Still think Darwinian solution really is the only way this will end! ) But they choose to stay so for the moment the evil, inevitable moment is delayed. But it keeps the NZ's happy to think they are compensating for the sins of the fathers.

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They also have rare lizards, eels and frogs which they are also breeding. We stayed watching the birds and wandering the tracks for more than three hours and then had lunch in their super duper restaurant where the cruise ship passengers go to as the views are spectacular, but who rarely bother walking through to the enclosure. 

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We are ambling slowly back up the coast so we stopped to see the famous Moeraki boulders on the beach. Still following orders. All available on line should the wish to see these things grab you.

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Apparently there are penguins here too. When it cools down a bit we will go and look for them.

We got to the 1950s prefab accommodation (less problem in an earthquake) but well stocked, clean and very pleasant and 26° and sunny outside. I think the daylight hours here are about 15 hours now we are going North. Quite a contrast to last weekend in the fiords. The forecast is like this for the next few days.


Now it is later and we are at the penguins! I think these may be the ones we were meant to see as it's quite a business here and apparently you see any number of them pour in. We are going business class. i.e. There is a theatre of stacked seats to see them come in from the sea at dusk and you pay for the best seats. But NO PHOTOS! They're in luck as I have run out of space anyway. So, like the January sales, we were here early, for the 9.30 pm show, to get the best of the best seats as we doubt we will ever get here again. We have been queuing since early so we should get the ones in the tribunes, by the sea, halfway up as advised. And the bonus of $10 off each for being old! Like!

Reflections while I wait.  One thing that perplexes me here is how everywhere we have stayed insists on street lights. All night. Nowhere we have been at night does not have them. Do they not believe in dark skies? It is often cloudy so you can't always see the stars but on the clear nights when you could it would be lovely to see them and not have them light pollution from the street lights. Strange, they profess to be eco friendly but actions like that belie it. Also, everywhere seems very safe so it can't be to deter robbers.

Another thing that is weird about the eco thing is that the hot water comes out at temperatures to boil a lobster. Everywhere. Some things they could think about I think, but I'm not telling them.


Not allowed to take pix so must switch the machine off now!