Click here for the NZ executive summary and other posts.
Things have been looking great so far and Day 4 was no exception either. A clear but cold morning greeted us as we inched towards the Otago Peninsula.
The Otago Peninsula is a long, hilly indented finger of land that forms the easternmost part of Dunedin, New Zealand. Volcanic in origin, it forms one wall of the eroded valley that now forms Otago Harbour. The peninsula lies south-east of Otago Harbour and runs parallel to the mainland for 20 km, with a maximum width of 9 km. It is joined to the mainland at the south-west end by a narrow isthmus about 1.5 km wide.
The fabulous morning from Otago Peninsula
The drive to the Royal Albatross Centre was exciting if not awesome. We even stopped by the road to take some photos of the scenery. It was truly panaromic I must say. All along the way, we took the inner road, which is narrow and dangerous. We were even amused by the speed limit imposed on these roads. How can anyone drive 100km/h along these roads? We even had problem keeping up to 40km/h, let alone 100km/h.
Close to an hour, we arrived at the Royal Albatross Centre, located almost at the tip of the Otago Peninsula. While waiting for it to open, we walked around but had to cut it short as it was very cold and the wind didn’t help either. We ended up taking shelter in car instead.
Somehow in between, we waited at the wrong place. After being informed, we drove up to Nature’s Wonders which is just a short 3 minutes drive from the centre. However, we were put on the next available tour since we were a bit late. Not a problem for us since there is a cafe and we just took some drinks while waiting.
Nature’s Wonders is a self funded conservation effort to ensure that this land (Otago Peninsula) is preserved for all future generations to enjoy, by protecting the penguins, fur seals and other wildlife. The wildlife are living in natural environments the way nature intended it to be.
The coolest thing about this tour is the awesome eight wheel drive all terrain vehicle, which we rode and had fantastic time throughout the tour.
First, we were taken to the mythical “Maori Footprint” location, which offers superb views of the surroundings. I think superb doesn’t even describe how awesome are the views. You just have to be there to see with your own eyes.
It was a totally different experience altogether when we were brought up close to a breeding colony of wild fur seals and their pups.
Our last stop was a little disappointing as the extremely rare yellow-eyed penguins decided to hide among the thick bushes, thus we only only able to get a glimpse using binocular.
After the visit ended, we drove back to the Royal Albatross Centre for another scheduled visit.
Taiaroa Head is the site of the world’s only mainland royal albatross breeding ground, where you can observe the spectacle of the albatrosses with wingspans of up to 3m coming in to land like a succession of 747s.The Royal Albatross Centre is located on the tip of the Otago Peninsula, about a 45 minute drive from Dunedin.
It was quite an insightful tour. We were briefed and shown a video of the Royal Albatross before proceeding to the observation centre to see the baby chick. It was a great day as we sighted an adult bird flying around.
Whether it’s Royal Albatross Centre or Nature’s Wonders, they have my respect for sure. There is no match for the amount of dedication and conservation efforts they have put in so far.
We concluded the tour with a quick lunch by the road and thereafter took the scenic coastal road to get to Larnach Castle.
We were actually in dilemma whether to give Larnach Castle a visit since we were a bit out of time and we were supposed to head back to the city at Cadbury World before it closes at 5:30pm. The garden-only visit cost NZ$12.50 per person, and since we were already at the entrance, we just had to visit it.
New Zealandâ€™s only castle, built 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza. It took more than 200 workmen three years to build the Castle shell and master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior. Larnach spared no expense on his dream home, which features the finest materials from around the world.
The visit was a quick one but still worth the amount that we paid. The gardens were beautifully landscaped, in fact one of the best landscaped gardens I’ve seen. It really complement the castle well. I think the amount of photos that we took already paid for itself.
Still hoping that we could make it in time for Cadbury World, we left hurriedly and guess what? We made it! Without wasting time, we dashed into the shop and grabbed whatever chocolate on display. Okay, that was a bit exaggerated. We still took our time looking around for special chocolates that we couldn’t find back home.
There was still plenty of time, so we headed to Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. Drove up and walked down, with additional stunt show provided by the locals as well.
We were already famished by then, so we headed back to city to start hunting for food. We wanted to splurge a bit as celebration since that day happened to be anniversary for the two lovebirds. We parked at one of the streets, and began walking north along George Street while scouting for food. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants which look promising but we wanted more options.
Little did we know that we have came to Knox Church which is located nearby, so why not take some photos while at it.
At the end of Knox Church looks a bit deserted, so we headed back and decided to dine at The Huntsman Steakhouse. It was a good choice as the food was great. I’d recommend this if you ever visit Dunedin.