After the stunning views and experiences at the Milford Sound we drove off to the east coast of New Zealand. We drove straight from Te Anau to our most southern point in New Zealand: The Kaka Point. At the Kaka Point there is a hidden spot to watch Yellow Eyed Penguins, a severely threatened kind of penguin. Unfortunately no penguin showed up while we’ve been there so we moved on to our camp ground in Brighton.
Besides a campground with a beautiful view we met a family from Germany which we met on multiple occasions later on our trip. We had a nice evening with them, a glass of wine and some good talks. The next day we explored the city of Dunedin. One of the attractions (we saw) in Dunedin is the steepest residential street of the world, the Baldwin Street. It has a slope of 35% which does not sound as impressive as it feels, when you (try) to climb it. This street seriously is steep.
Besides the street we visited the beautiful train station made from black and white stone. Another highlight in Dunedin is the Cadburry Chocolate Fabric which was (as so often on our loosely planned trip) already closed when we wanted to see it.
To quench our thirst for nature we headed to the Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago peninsula (where we met our family-friends again). Tina and I both did know that Albatrosses are big birds but with a booked tour we had the chance to see them from a short distance. And they are huge. And beautiful. Our tour guide informed us about the history of the station and the success of the breeding program. From a hidden view point we could see incubating parents and strutting juveniles.
After we saw these impressive birds (and had a coffee with the German family) we traveled north. On a free camp ground, we stayed for only one night, we encountered a seal mother with its baby. At first we didn’t even see them despite laying almost in plain sight but after the seal pup moved we saw them and started to slowly but steady move back. This encounter and the following visit of the Shag Point were the nearest we’ve been to seals the whole trip.
Not as interactive but still impressive were the Moeraki Boulders. Big ball shaped rocks laying on the beach. Even a bit surreal and because one of the rocks was split open Tina and I both sat into it and “hatched” from these rocks.
Our last step in this episode of the trip was a recommendation of our new friends: Oamaru. And the recommendation was really good. The city was able to keep (and renovate) a lot of old buildings from the time of the settlement in Victorian style, which enriched the view of the city dramatically. The inhabitants of the city even pushed this image further with Victorian Age costumes and festivals.
Oamaru had some highlights for us: A brewery where we had a drink and good pizza inbetween the kettles, a good view at some Little Blue Penguins, a rye bread from a dutch bakery and really good cheese at the Whitestone Cheese Factory.
An experience for itself is the Steampunk HQ. Crazy, fantastic and definitely punky. If you’ve got the chance, visit the HQ and go into the portal! It is worth every penny.