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.
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000526. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000500. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000496. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000517. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000533. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000549. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000538. ©Andrew McInnes
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.
Fleurs Place – Restaurant 2AM-000598. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Bay 2AM-000599. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Bay 2AM-000593. ©Andrew McInnes
Moeraki Bay 2AM-000595. ©Andrew McInnes
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).
The Organ Pipes 2AM-000567. ©Andrew McInnes
The Organ Pipes 2AM-000576. ©Andrew McInnes
The Organ Pipes 2AM-000577. ©Andrew McInnes
The Organ Pipes 2AM-000578. ©Andrew McInnes
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.
Black-backed Gull 2AM-004861. ©Andrew McInnes
Black-backed Gull 2AM-004882. ©Andrew McInnes
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.
Harrington Point 2AM-000580. ©Andrew McInnes
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.
Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004739. ©Andrew McInnes
Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004780. ©Andrew McInnes
Thanks for visiting – I hope you enjoyed these images.