South- and East Coast

We’re in Dunedin at the moment after driving the whole day yesterday. Not because it’s far, but it’s a really scenic coastal route and we stopped a lot for small walks, at lookout points and cafés.

We had stayed in Invercargill two nights, one of them at a place where we had a whole spa with a jacuzzi and sauna all by ourselves for some hours. It was the day the bomb low hit New Zealand, it rained a lot and was very windy. When it cleared up we drove to that awesome beach nearby and had some wine, looked at the waves and watched the kite surfers.

From there headed east, along pretty beaches and hilly countryside. That has been a very nice drive and we even had some sunny spells. And so much wildlife to see. On the first beach we stopped there was a huge, big bellied sea lion just hanging out on the path towards a light house. We also saw several seals, swimming in the water and sunbathing on the rocks..

But today topped everything… At sand fly bay. It is a really pretty drive across the Otago Peninsula that leads you to a parking lot, a lookout and a steep, sandy path down to the dunes and the beach. Even in overcast weather it looked beautiful. And there were just so many sea lions sleeping on the sand and the rocks. They just didn’t seem to care at all about those humans walking around.

Then one came out of the water, and it was so cool to see how the actually “walk”, so we sat down on our shoes and watched him. A little further away was a whole group of people standing, also watching him but he kept waddling towards us. Had to stop every 20 seconds to lay down for a bit and then kept coming closer. I got excited and took pictures. And then he sort of started to run.

Well, and so did we. Luckily those animals have the endurance of… I don’t know. They just don’t have any endurance so his run didn’t last very long and we escaped. But it had our shoes, and almost laid down on them. So I attracted his attention while Ryan snuck up from behind and saved the shoes.

At dusk we went to Pilot beach to welcome home a penguin colony after a long day at sea hunting for food. Those are Blue Penguins, the world’s tiniest species and pretty darn cute (25 cm tall). At first you just see a black patch in the water, then they all waddle ashore and off into the dunes where they live. That really was 1.5 hours cuteness overload…

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