Monday, April 11, 2005


Seagulls squawk overhead, and waves pound the beach. Our eyes peak over the tussocks. “OK, quiet now. If we’re lucky, they will come ashore soon.”

Suddenly, a sleek black head emerges from the surf. Awkwardly, he stands, gains a foothold in the smooth sand, and waddles purposefully up the beach. His wet black feathers gleam in the afternoon sun. He pads his way toward us, as we stare in awe. Its 4pm, and the Yellow-Eyed Penguins have come home to Otago for the day.

Earlier, we watched giant albatross soar overhead, before landing to feed their helpless chicks. The Otago Peninsula in Southern New Zealand contains the only nesting albatross colony in the world that is accessible to humans. With a nine and a half foot wingspan, the mighty albatross is the largest bird on earth, capable of flying over 1,500 kilometers a day. Like a massive airplane approaching a runway, an albatross gliding towards its nest is quite a sight to behold.

In between we plied the curvaceous roads of Otago, straining to see the pristine beaches, mighty forests, and immaculate gardens of the Peninsula. Other travelers did the same, populating the scenic roads with rental cars, campers, and funky backpacker vans.

Although devoid of the soaring peaks and dense rainforest that are New Zealand Trademarks, the Otago Peninsula and the rest of Southland are a great spot to spend some time.

Enjoy the Otago and Southland Photo Gallery.

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