Hope everyone is well. We are fine.
The last couple of days have been really busy for us. We drove the long stretch between Akaroa and Dunedin. It took us about 4 hours...which by australias standards that's quite small, but a long way for NZ.
After arriving at Dunedin we had no idea of the importance of the region and what it had to offer in terms of wildlife. After venturing down to the information centre we discovered that the peninsula was filled with very unique wildlife.
So yesterday we became official birdwatchers and out to the peninsula we headed. We had been told about the very rare type of albatross that bred on the peninsula so we went off to the visitors centre to check it out. When we arrived we realised that we really needed to do a tour which guides you to the observation deck, where you can see two baby chicks on the hill side.
The observation deck was on top of a massive hill and half way up our climb we were stopped by our guide pointing out albatross in the sky a long way off. To us, they just looked like seagulls. I was a little disapointed at that point because I thought and was told that albatross were very big, so to not even be able to tell them apart was dissapointing.
After reaching the top we ntered the observation point which was good because we had been battered by the wind. The point was good as we were able to see the baby chicks very close as the albatross had very kindly nested right outside the front of the observatory. The baby chick however was the size of a medium size dog!!! This was very suprising as i had expected a 3 month old chick to be a chick....like a little yellow fluffy thing. However...it was fluffy....very fluffy. It looked like a very large bundle of cotton wall blowing on the hillside. It looked very cute.
There were unfortuantly at this point no adults around. We had been warned that the tour was likely to be of the lbatross chicks and not the adults and that if we happened to see one adult fly by it was a bonus. It must have been our lucky day because not only did we see one adult fly by. It just happened to be the mummy of our baby chick that was in front of us. Our guide was overjoyed when we got to see the mummy up close and the chick beside her. She was ecstatic. So you can imagine her joy when the daddy flew over and joined them both. She said that it was so rare to ever see the parent with the chick...now there was two. It was a very lucky experience which made the tour an absolutely amazing experience. Also just to finish it off....another adult flew right above us on our way out. It was amazing!
So after our great bird experience. We thought we would continue our search for rare birds. On to the yellow eyed penguins. The rarest penguin in the world to be precise! So we found our way to a reserve that the department of conservation runs. Again...another tour was necessary. We went on a 1.5hour walking tour of the penguin habitat. Being the only insociable penguin in the world they do not like to live with each other. They will only nest when they can see no other penguins in sight...except for their mate. The tour was great as we were in little hideouts as not to scare them and they were full of character. We even walked out of the hide and after a minute or so the curious little thing wandered over to the hide to see what was inside. Bless. It again was an excellent experience. We have officially seen about twenty of the four thousand left in the world!!!
Now it sounds as though that we were so busy that we forgot to stop for lunch....Well the truth is that in Dunedin, they have NZ only cadburys factory so in the morning we had already been for a tour around the chocolate factory and watch a ton of chocolate fall by waterfall in front of our eyes.....Willy Wonka is now not the only factory to use waterfall. It was great....we had lots of freebies. Yummy! I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
This morning we got up early to go somewhere that is famous! So famous that it is in the guiness book of records. We went to the WORLD'S STEEPEST STREET!!! Oh yes...the world's steepest street is also right here in Dunedin. It is VERY steep. Our little van struggles on driveways so it was a real challenge for the van. We drove up the street and at one point I thought we were going to have to get out and push. After we got to the top I decided to walk down...and Lee drove. The drive down Lee described as VERY STEEP!!! It was as if he had fallen over a cliff. The walk down for me was very tiresome as it took all energy to stop yourself falling down. It was very fun and we even got a certificate. How cool is that!
As you can see we have had a very busy couple of days.
Today we are off to Te Anau...not sure what that is...but I bet it is just full of wonderfull suprises.
Lots of Love Kirsty and Lee xx
(offically drivers and walkers of the worlds steepest road)!!!