Otago, New Zealand
You really do have to visit the Yellow Eyed PenguinConservation Reserve.This is a private conservation effort to save the world's most endangered penguin from extinction and it is funded entirely through the tour operation.
.A little old bus takes you from the booking office up the cliff to the site, from there you walk with the guide along the cliff and down into the tunnel system. This allows a close view of the nesting sites without disturbing the penguins. Pre-booking is necessary. Take good walking shoes and protective clothing as the wind blows hard along the cliff. It is marvellous and you can see the penguins so well, with a guide who can tell you anything you want to know about these really beautiful but difficult animals.
The trip cost us 27 dollars per person and it was worth every cent!!
Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island and very much the "University Town". The city was founded by the Scottish Free Church and its name means Edinburgh in old Gaelic.
Dunedin has a strong Scottish flavour with a statue of Robbie Burns in the town square and the famous Larnoch Castle on one of the surrounding hills.
Dunedin also has one of the highest regarded buildings in the country in its railway station building being a bit of an architechtural marvel from way back.
Central Otago is New Zealand's highest and the world's most southerly wine region. "Wines with Altitude" is the slogan of one winemaker in this region!
It is also New Zealand's only true continental climate with greater extremes of daily and seasonal temperatures than are found in any of the country's maritime regions. Central Otago is now New Zealand's seventh largest wine region.
The Pinot Noir is the dominant grape variety, but Chardonnay ranks a close second with Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling a distant third and fourth.
The wines of Central Otago are intense nad flavorful and a great way to enjoy the end of a long day of biking!
North of Dunedin you will find Oamaru.
When you are there be sure to find Bushy Beach close to sunset and you will see these very rare penguins and if you get lucky (like I did) you might even see a chicken!
On the Otago Peninsula nearby Dunedin you will find New Zealand's only castle.
The surroundings and the road to the castle are allready worth the drive!
The castle itself is fascinatingand is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
And if you are not on a tight budget as I was you can even stay here overnight!
On the Otago Peninsula you will find Taiaroa Head where one of very few albatross breeding colonies is located.
The albatross is truly majestic and if you try to be at the visitor centre late in the afternoon you might even get lucky and see them fly!
The tour at The Royal Albatross Centre is worth the price if you are fascinated by these "Kings of the Sky".
The University Capital of New Zealand with a lot of beautiful architecture in a certain style.
This city has a scottish history and is well worth to stay an extra day especially because the nightviews are gorgeous.
On the way to Dunedin (From Invercargill) you will pass Tunnel Beach....A beach full of huge rocks that you can only reach through a tunnel.
Watch out when the water starts to rise cause the beach will dissapear and you will get wet feet and pants...:-)
When you drive from Invercargill to Dunedin be sure to take the route through The Caitlins.
It is a drive with lots of waterfalls and hikes along the road and they are well signposted so you won't miss a thing!
When you are on your way from Wanaka to Queenstown don't forget to make a little D-tour to Arrowtown.
One of the most beautiful and charming places I have seen in New Zealand.
It is situated between the green mountains and alongside the Arrow river.
I could retire there with no problems what so ever....:-)
It used to be a golddiggers town and you can still find some gold in the Arrow river if you are patient...:-)
If you (like me) are in to old war planes this is an absolute must!
They have a hangar full of them and besides that they have a great flight simulator and a hangar where they restore the planes using only original parts they gather from all over the world!
If you are in Wanaka don't forget to drive to Treble Cone.In winter time this is a wintersport area.
It's a long way up and you might have to stop once in a while when your car's engine gets too hot..:-)....but the views are more then worth it!
Wanaka is a town situated at a beautiful lake and between the mountains.
There are heaps of activities for all people.Parachuting above the lake, fishing, boating and skieing int winter are a few of those options!
Another one of those places you don't want to leave....:-))
Arrowtown is a great restored gold-rush settlement from the 19th century. There is still gold to be found in the rivers around this area.
In the Museum / Information office, there is a display on local history and gold mining activity
In 1862 Jack Tewa, a sheep shearer, found gold in the Arrow River. Within weeks 1500 people had arrived, searching for their fortune in the glittering rocks. At the height of the gold rush, Arrowtown's population grew to over 7000.
Being the centre of gold-rush country, we couldn't visit without trying our hand at gold panning.
In a small outlet along the main street, we hire the necessary equipment, and set off for the river.
Lady luck is not on our side today, however, and all we seem to find is lots of boring little grey stones.
No fortune today!
On the eastern side of the peninsular, below the lighthouse, I noticed the seaweed dancing with ebb and flow of the tide. The seaweed is so long and unusual that I thought It would make an interesting photograph.