Dunedin is a great small city towards the lower end of the South island of New Zealand, there is a bunch of stuff to do there but one of the experiences that really stood out to me was the peninsula encounters wildlife tour.
The bus stopped off in town at each of the hostels and hotels to pick up the guests before heading out towards the peninsula.
As soon as we reached the windy narrow roads of the peninsula it was a completely different feel than the city. It felt much more as if we were in among the wilds of the country, even though we could still see the city across the bay.
There were some wonderful views out the bus window of the rolling hills, passing various wildlife and small cottages along the length of the peninsula.
The first place we stopped off at was the Albatross center, it was so windy down there most of us were permanently standing at a 45 degree angle.
This meant good news for spotting albatross though as they are more likely to be out flying in gusty conditions. We all stood waiting to see their huge wingspan appear from over the hill bracing ourselves against the wind, and after a few minutes we spotted our first albatross off in the distance.
Then suddenly another appeared, this time a lot closer so we could get a proper look at one in flight. They are huge, there were seagulls in the air too and they looked miniature in comparison.
Next on the agenda was to visit the Sea lions on the beach, after a short scenic drive along the coast of the peninsula we reached the private beach area which the tour has access to.
We all got off the bus and headed down the hill towards the beach, were we could spot the sea lions as we descended.
Once we reached the fence to the beach we stopped and looked at them for a while, some were asleep but a group of males were fighting or practising at least. Some of sea lions that were previously sleeping eventually woke up and decided to join in on the fighting, I was surprised at how fast they could move.
We headed onto the beach and had to pass the giant animals, luckily they were busy jostling with each other to take much notice to use as we passed. But it was a great opportunity to get so near to them and see (and smell them) up close.
Yellow eyed Penguins
We walked further down the beach to reach the yellow eyed penguins, we had to climb up a series of steps to reach the area they were located. We spotted some among the trees nesting, and we got a really close view of them too, We even spotted a blue penguin sleeping in its hole.
We stayed here a while to take some pictures and take in the scenery and wildlife when one penguin arrived on shore from the sea and started to waddle his way up on to the hills past the sheep and reach another penguin.
I never thought I would ever see a penguin and a sheep together, and it was one of the highlights to me of the trip.
Afterwards we headed back up past the sea lions and up and the hill to reach the fur seal colony on the other side of the cliffs.
They looked tiny in comparison to the sea lions but it was a great sight as there were loads of them covering the entire surface of the rocks. Some babies playing tin the rock pools, and one that looked to be surprised to see humans and stared at us constantly.
Overall the trip was great and definitely one of the highlights of my New Zealand experience!
I booked the tour through elm wildlife tours, and the whole day lasts about 6 hours or so so be sure to bring a snack or two and a jacket in case it’s a bit windy.