Before we headed to our campsite for the night, just before the sun set, we drove a bit further up north to go to Katiki Point Reserve, right at the coast where the yellow-eyed penguins and sea lions live. They only come in on a night from fishing during the day so the best time to see them is dusk so we were just on time! We saw around 20 yellow eyed penguins, some which were very very close to us, like a couple of feet away. We also saw a group of sea lions which had little cubs with them! It was amazing! We were so happy we got the chance to see them! We have seen so many animals lately and all in the wild which has made it so much better!
We got to where we were staying just after the sun had set. It now sets around 5.25pm and rises around 7.30am! It is constantly changing even more than it does generally as we are always on the move. We are on the east coast now though so we will be able to see the sun rise here over the sea. The campsite that we stayed at for the night was Katiki Beach, just 5 minutes away from Moeraki boulders. It was a gravel parking area just off the highway so we could hear all the traffic passing all night but it wasn't bad. The beach was literally beside us and we could hear the waves crashing all night which was nice. We also had a fantastic starry sky and we saw 2 shooting stars, star gazing out of the back window of the van whilst laid in bed, it doesn't get much better than that!
On the 10th we were up very early at 6.15am before the sun to get to Moeraki boulders for sunrise. When we got there, there was already a bus full of people with their professional cameras trying to get the best shots! It was a brilliant sunrise over the boulders. The boulders have been formed over millions of years on the sea floor by a layering process similar to the formation of oyster pearls. They were massive boulders! We went at high tide though so we didn't see the extent of them but we did nearly get washed away by the tide before we were leaving!
We then drove to Oamaru and spent the morning there. It has an intact Victorian precinct and we had a nice walk along the harbour too learning about it's history. There was a Sunday Farmers Market on whilst we were there so we tried southern cheese rolls. We bumped into a local man three times who kept talking rubbish to us, he was actually from Italy but moved here when he was young and sounded nothing like an Italian! He was crazy but funny and seemed to love that we were from England- he knew more about what was going on there than us!
We left Oamaru just after lunch and had a 2 hour drive up towards Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.