In October 2006 we did a trip to New Zealand starting with a few days in the North Island covering Aukland and Rotorua. From Rotorua we flew to Blenheim in the South Island via Wellington.The bulk of the trip covered the South Island starting from Blenheim and driving around the island anti-clockwise visiting Picton, Nelson, Punakaiki, Hokitika, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, Haast, Queenstown, Te Anua, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Moeraki, Oamaru, Mount Cook and finishing in Christchurch.
After leaving Te Anau bound for Dunedin we stopped briefly at Lake Manapouri, which is situated within the Fiordland National Park and the wider region of Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
It was a long drive from Te Anau to Dunedin and we crossed large areas of grassland and moors …. and of course many sheep.
Dunedin is a city in New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast. It’s known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a large student population. Hiking and cycling trails crisscross the dramatic landscape of the adjoining Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins.
On arrival in Dunedin and checking into our guest house we took a walk in the city. Close to St Paul’s Cathedral I found a street with my name on it …. Stuart St. Dunedin’s name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. There was obviously a strong link with Scotland as there was also a statue of Robert Burns.
Dunedin Railway Station was an elaborate building with beautiful coloured tiling on the inside.
We headed out towards the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Point with a view to seeing the Yellow Eyed Penguins. We stopped firstly at Larnach Castle
Larnach Castle (also referred to as “Larnach’s Castle”), is a mock castle on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula within the limits of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand, close to the small settlement of Pukehiki. It is one of a few houses of this scale in New Zealand. The house was built by the prominent entrepreneur and politician, William Larnach. Since 1967, the castle has been privately owned by the Barker family, and opened as a tourist attraction, as “New Zealand’s only castle”.
The castle and grounds are open daily to members of the public. The Larnach Castle gardens are one of only five gardens nationwide to have been given the rating of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. These were the first gardens in the South Island to receive the title. In 2018, Larnach Castle was designated a New Zealand Landmark by Heritage New Zealand.
The Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Point run penguin and seal viewing tours which we joined. As we walked along the steep cliff tops we saw multitudes of nesting sea birds
There were also many seals in this area lounging around on the rocks below the cliffs and we also saw quite a number of rabbits on the sand dunes.
The endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Hoiho) nest in the coastal vegetation in and around the Otago Peninsula, hidden away from other birds and humans. Dunedin is one of the few places in New Zealand to see these beautiful birds in wild, going about the daily business of life on the beaches and amongst the sand dunes.
We could only view theYellow Eyed Penguins from a distance as they are strictly trying to conserve this environment but I did get some photographs of these cute little creatures. We did not manage to see any of the Little Blue Pengions which are the smallest penguin in the World.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
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