Yellow eyed penguins

by sam on 6th April 2017 2 comments

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Lake Tekapo Hot Springs

Half an hour back over to Lake Tekapo, we found the Tekapo Hot Springs, glacial water, heated and overlooking the beautiful lake... It was still drizzling so was not as beautiful still as it should be but, never the less the pools were lovely, and a nice little break from sight seeing for everyone.

There were 4 pools all 35-37 degrees, plus one hotter adults only pool and then a slight cooler kids one with splash area....this bit was blummin freezing with the drizzle after the hotter pools!! Kids enjoyed playing with Frey's underwater camera she got for Christmas, and J and I had a nice relax...until it was time to get out and Liss had her usual shower-in-the-changing-room tantrum!!

The first image for blog - Yellow eyed penguins

Our Moeraki cabin

We drove for a couple of hours over the Mackenzie basin back to the coast to a village called Hampden, a couple of miles from Moeraki. The views were amazing, more mountains, more enormous lakes. They are all so different and so vast, it is really hard to capture the scale in photos.

The cabin we are staying in is on a really basic campsite, polar opposite to our big house for the last couple of nights, but really lovely campsite. The cabin had a bathroom which we weren't expecting, we thought this was just a simple cabin where you use the camp loos and kitchen the same as if you have a tent. We had a double, a bunk and a single bed, but aside from the candlestick bedspread, it was all very clean and modern (the bedspread was clean, just not modern!)
We could just see the sea through a gap in the fence, but it's very choppy out there today.

The first image for blog - Yellow eyed penguins

Mr yellow eyed penguin

The owner of the site gave us loads of information about local things to do, including directions to an off-the-beaten-track area to see yellow-eyed penguins and NZ fur seals if you are lucky.

The former are only found in the Southern Hemisphere, and are very rare. This is one of fewer than 10 spots where they can be seen in the wild, and other than a small group of volunteers who monitor the area for litter and clear the path down to the cliff top, they are left to their own devices.

The first image for blog - Yellow eyed penguins

We were told 4-6 pm is usually the best time to see the animals when they come back from their day at sea, we got there at about 4.30 after a bouncy jaunt down some gravel tracks to get there. We had to walk about 10 minutes down a hill to the top of a cliff and there we spotted 2 yellow eyed penguins lying down near a fence on the side of a cliff, with a few seals lazing in the fat seaweed on the beach below. The penguins were much have taller than I thought they would be, they must have been about 50cm tall.

Further round the corner we found another penguin walking along a ridge on the cliff side. The weather was awful, the rainf was picking up and the wind was whipping around but this was too good to miss!! We walked on about 100m and as we rounded the corner to the end of the peninsula, there was about 30 seals ahead of us, all lying spread out on the grass!! One was only about 10m away from us, they were probably about the size of Liss.

The first image for blog - Yellow eyed penguins

Back along the peninsula again, we looked down the other side of the cliff, and liss spotted a baby seal playing in the (really rough) surf...and then another,..and another, plus another penguin. There were about 15 babies all in chasing each other round and diving off the rocks. We could have stayed and watched for hours, but the weather was beginning to blow us around a bit too much, so we went to (supposedly) the best fish and chip shop in NZ back near our campsite, local caught blue cod and chips - couldn't tell you if it was the best ever, but it was pretty good! Adam on the other hand ordered a hot dog... Apparently that orders something entirely different here!

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by Dad on 10th April 2017

swimming, very brave :-(

by Days on 13th April 2017

Nah, not brave, the water was really hot in the water, it was just when you got out it was blumin cold!

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