From the Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand

Jan 19, 2013 - Oceanic Discoverer

Yellow-eyed penguin chicks
Dunedin Rail Station


One of our poets summed up the unpredictability of the southern weather when he wrote – “O to be born in Dunedin and to live in perpetual greyness that makes sunglasses a golfer’s affliction.” Slightly harsh most would say of probably New Zealand’s most picturesque city, lying as it does at the head of Otago harbour. But this morning we did experience something of that unpredictability, spring, followed by summer, them a cold wind from the south. Yes indeed Dunedin!!

Over recent years Dunedin has also capitalized on the accessibility of the nearby Otago Peninsula to become a major centre for ecotourism based on the region’s unique wildlife. This morning we had the opportunity to visit some of that; viewing the northern royal albatross colony at Taiaroa Head, red-billed gull, Stewart Island shag (cormorant) colonies, and then on to a private yellow eyed penguin nesting area where we saw not only the rare yellow-eyed chicks, but also the little blue, along with a rare Snares Island penguin which was recovering in their hospital area. Many New Zealand fur seals were also observed at close quarters which made for excellent photographic opportunities.

This afternoon free time allowed us to explore this university town with its outstanding Edwardian architecture, a fabulous museum and art gallery, along with its many cafes, coffees houses and bookshops.

The swill of the bagpipes by a few hardy pipers standing in the wind piping us away from the wharf will leave all with a lasting memory of this city firmly grounded in its Scottish heritage.

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About the Author

Malcolm Campbell

Malcolm Campbell

National Geographic Staff

Native New Zealander Malcolm Campbell is a professional naturalist and birder who has worked for 20 years on conservation and environmental issues in his country's national parks, forests, and coastal marine environments. He has led many National Geographic Expeditions in New Zealand and will share his in-depth knowledge of his country's people, political history, flora and fauna, and indigenous Mâori culture.

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