Days 5 and 6 – Moeraki and Dunedin.
Just outside the coastal town of Moeraki there are numerous large concretions, exposed and highly visible, lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. I thoroughly recommend reading more about them (here is a Wikipedia link).
Here are a series of images captured during our brief visit.
After a thoroughly enjoyable dinner washed down with a local amber ale at the Moeraki Tavern, I took these shots of the nearby harbour. We had hoped to also eat at the famed Fleurs Place restaurant another night but, alas, it was closed for a while over the Christmas break.
A little further south is the city of Dunedin, where I have family heritage. We had a joyous visit with a cousin and her family, and she accompanied us on a lovely hike to see the Organ Pipes. “The Otago peninsula was formed entirely by volcanic activity and the tall polygonal columns featured on this walk are remnants of this past. As molten lava cooled slowly beneath the hardened crust, it contracted and formed geometrical cracks which propagated downwards as the mass cooled.” (source: NZ Tramper website).
After the organ pipes we wanted to visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross so we ventured out to Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula. Unfortunately we did not see any albatross, but there was a rather active colony of gulls. Whilst wandering along an observation path, we heard, then saw, quite an aerial commotion… upon further observation we saw a Black-backed Gull being harassed by several smaller gulls – the larger gull had apparently “kidnapped” a chick and was heading off with it. For those who may be a bit squeamish about natural history, the following two images may concern you.
Looking down the steep cliffs of Taiaroa Head I was entranced by bull kelp (Durvillaea species) as it seemingly twirled and shimmied in a whimsical tango with the ocean.
Overlooking the spit within Otago Harbour – our lunch spot on our way back to Moeraki.
Back to Mouraki, we were thrilled and fortunate to observe, up close, a few Yellow-eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)! These New Zealand endemics (native) are purported to be among the worlds rarest penguin species.
Thanks for visiting – I hope you enjoyed these images.