Otago Peninsula

Another incredibly awesome day!

Sandfly Bay Beach without the sand flies

Sandfly Bay Beach without the sand flies

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.

Dunedin Steam Train

Dunedin Steam Train

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.

Now is that not a cute sheep!

Now is that not a cute sheep!

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.

Larnach Castle with Thalictrum Delavayi blooming

Larnach Castle with Thalictrum Delavayi blooming

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 sea lion resigned to Brian's presence

A sea lion resigned to Brian’s presence

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!

Yellow-eyed penguins out for a stroll

Yellow-eyed penguins out for a stroll

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.

A friendly game of Hand and Foot at Te Anau

A friendly game of Hand and Foot at Te Anau



  1. I hate to see this fantastic trip come to an end. While we shovelled more and more snow we were rejuvenated with your tales of adventure. Maple syrup will probably start after you come home. Xo

    Murray and Cory McQuigge 339757 Kemble Bypass Rd. Kemble, ON, N0H 1 S0 519-372 -2336 E-mail: mmcquigge@gmail.com Sent from my iPad


  2. Great photos. The sheep looked mean and the sea lion resigned to sharif his beach. You two will be experts at Hand and Foot when you return. Helen McQuitty

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