Today we docked in Dunedin. This town is New Zealands’s oldest city. It is a university town and is also known for its wildlife reserves. Maori first setttled her over four centuries ago. Scottish migrants established a settlement here giving it the Celtic name for Edinburgh – Dunedin. In 1861, the discovery of gold in central Otago , put Dunedin on the map as the gateway to the gold fields.
I originally thought I had all day to explore the town and to see the Scottish heritage, but as it turned out, the tickets for a tour that I was wait-listed on, showed up in our room the night before. So much for my taking my time and seeing this city. I started taking the shuttle from Port Chalmers to Dunedin, about 15 minutes away, and then went to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican Church.
I then walked around The Octagon which is surrounded by small shops and cafes. Some of the items for sale were possum clothing. Possums were introduced back in the 1870s to start a fur trade. New Zealand only had 2 mammals – bats, no pigs, horses, dogs, cows, etc. Well the introduction has created a problem as the possums bred very well and they are a nuisance pest now. The possums are a threat to the penguins.
A mural at The Octagon.
I walked down Stuart Street to get to the Railway Station. This station is the most photographed building. With the Flemish Renaissance style architecture, you can see why.
I then had to get back to the ship, to be ready for my tour. Carol’s tour had just finished and we crossed paths as I grabbed my stuff and headed back out the door. Carol’s tour was an overview of the city. In which she saw the world’s steepest street – Baldwin Street. Unfortunately, it is a straight street so you do not see the true impact of the street unlike San Francisco’s Lombard.
I was now off on the Yellow Eyed Penguin tour. It was clear across the harbor. It took about 45 minutes to drive out there. Yellow Eyed Penguins are only found in New Zealand and most are right along this shore. These birds are not like the penguins you are used to hearing about. These are anti-social and they burrow. They do not like to see other penguins. The farm we were on, had built little triangular hutch and set it into the hill, and the penguin will dig out a hole behind it. It gets too hot for them so they need to stay out of the sun especially during the summer. Now these holes are not right down on the beach, but up the hills. This little guys climb up the hills to their hutch. If they do, they get all stressed out and will not mate. When they do mate, they will have two eggs. When they hatch, the parents will feed them to get them fat enough for fledging. When the chick has fledged, both parents will leave and go to see to fatten themselves up for the molt.
They will return big and fat, and they do not want to expend much energy as they will not eat until the molt finishes. Here are two that just returned from the sea, and they are too exhausted to go on, right now.
Every feather will be replaced during the molt. The yellow stripe on the head does not show on the juvenile until after its first molt.
We also were able to see some seals.
And of course, flowers, lots and lots of flowers,
Well now we have 3 days of sailing ahead of us. I am still bummed about not being able to go to Fiordland National Park. I carried the big lens for that park. We are supposed to be sailing above the storm, and we are getting about 13 – 15 foot swells and the winds are fairly high. This is supposed to stay with us until the morning when the direction of the winds are supposed to change and make it a bit calmer. They had the pool area roped off as the water was splashing out onto the floor. Carol was not able to get a photo of that on this cruise like she did on our Mediterrean cruise.
So no posts until we get to Tasmania. Maybe I will actually get to read a bit on this trip.