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Oamaru - Day 76

Penguins!

18 °C

We were up before 7am today because of the clock change, which wasn't ideal after a long day of driving yesterday, but it meant we had time for some travelling essentials - blogging, planning and washing!

Oamaru is a small Victorian town with lots of lovely old buildings, which seems a little strange after 3 weeks of seeing pretty much only 'new' buildings. It makes me realise how lucky we are in the UK to have such beautiful old buildings.
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We had lunch overlooking the town and while we were up there we spotted a jetty with about a hundred birds on there. Oamaru is known for its penguins, so from this high up we thought we might have come across a massive colony, but no! On closer inspection, they were just another sea bird. Still, I've never seen so many birds in one place.
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There was two chances to spot penguins here. One was to see the blue penguins, where you sat in the dark in a stand and waited for them to come out of the sea, and you had to pay for it and you couldn't take pictures. The other was from the cliff top looking down on the beach to see the yellow penguins, which was free. So we went to see the yellow penguins.

A couple came on to the beach while we were there, which was lovely to see, even if it was quite far away. I took a few videos of them walking up the beach - they walk so funnily!
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I didn't think we'd see one closely, because the beach was quite a way down, but then we saw this little fella in the bush just in front of us! How a penguin can get up to that height with those little legs and flappy wings is beyond me?!
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We were there for a long time, waiting for more to come, but then we saw a man on the beach. Apparently, you're not allowed on the beach because this scares off the penguins, so after seeing three or four penguins we didn't get to see any more.

It was getting late, because you have to wait until early evening to see the penguins, but we still decided to drive to a campsite closer to Dunedin, our destination for tomorrow. It was really difficult to find, with no signposts, and the sat nav took us to the wrong side of the road, so we went back on ourselves about 20km down an eerily quiet, dark, winding road. It was scary and I really didn't like it!

We took a chance on a sign for a reserve of the same name - even though most reserves showed from the outset that you could camp there with a little symbol - and in the darkness went down a long gravel path and over a ford, we found it. The campsite was tiny, but luckily had a few other campers there, which made it less terrifying for me. The toilet, the camp's only facility, was up a few steps in this scary little cabin in the trees. If you'd forgotten your torch, you'd have been lost...literally.

Needless to say, this is definitely not my favourite that we've visited. I am looking forward to leaving tomorrow morning!

Posted by staceywaugh 05:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged birds penguins steep_roads

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