Another incredibly awesome day!
Any day that begins with a beach walk is going to be great! Ocean Beach did not disappoint. It was Sunday and we crossed a big walk/run event with hundreds participating…an annual Dunedin that let participants choose anything from a walk to a half marathon. We chose the beach for our personal walk and viewing of fabulous waves. We met a German immigrant who came to Dunedin to live two years ago. He was totally pumped about the area. He has a million dollar view of the ocean with a middle class purchase and so many great walking, swimming, cycling opportunities close by, a university where his girlfriend is a scientist and where there are frequent lectures one can attend. He is a IT guy who spends more time walking and feeding his beagle than working. He is sliding eagerly into retirement at a young age.
A steam engine on narrow gauge whistled to a stop near the beach before returning to downtown Dunedin. With all the hills around Dunedin, almost everyone has a great water view.
We met an event marshall who was eager to chat with us about how much he liked living here and how much he enjoys annual visits to Buffalo/California for December/January. He has friends and relatives there.
We drove onto the Otago peninsula, pulling over where possible for breathtaking views looking down on beautiful beaches across hilly fields of sheep and the odd cow.
At Larnach Castle we strolled around well maintained gardens overflowing with complementary colour, height and depth. When the damp cold had chilled us to the bone, we enjoyed a cappaccino with scone, cream and jam by the fire in the wood panelled ballroom bookended with stag’s heads.
At Sandfly Bay, Brian and I slid down the steep sand dunes to the shore where the whitecaps rolled in, one sea lion lolled on the beach and another growled at Brian from the rocks. Kate and Jim started down the Sandy path but stopped at the steep descent, figuring they could make it down, but the ascent might kill Brian and me as we hauled them up. Good decision!
A highlight among many highs was our hour and a half guided tour of Penguin Place near the end of the peninsula. Our guide, Dan, took seven of us on a walk to visit yellow-eyed penguins on the cliffs above the ocean in their natural habitat. The PP is privately owned and relies on guided tours to care for damaged, orphaned or under-nourished penguins brought to their hospital by the Department of Conservation. They currently have 80 penguins in their care. We also saw two tiny blue penguins in their nesting box. Unlike sociable Emperor penguins that live in colonies, the yellow-eyed penguins are territorial; so, you do not see them in crowds. Fascinating creatures!
An excellent red cod dinner prepared by our chef capped the day. We played our last game of Hand and Foot for this trip. We only have one more night together and we will not be playing cards.