Tunnel beach and Elm wildlife tour
I was not sure what else I preferred to do in Dunedin. I could go the more expensive route and visit the castle and go with the railway. Or I could go with the somewhat less expensive tour and visit tunnel beach and some wildlife.
In the end I decided that I can still walk into castles and take trains when I am older. (But both possibilities where highly recommended.)
So after a visit to the iSite to make sure that access to the beach was not closed I went back to public transport to catch a bus tunnel beach. Well the driver did not know where tunnel beach was located and the bus came back just past the iSite. So I could have spared me some walking if only they had told me instead of sending me to the start of the line.
At the outskirts of town the shift of the bus driver changed and the new one did not only know where tunnel beach was but also let me off at a corner that saved me some walking. And nice guy that he was he told me what time the bis woulf be back at the next bus stop.
After some 20 minutes along the road I was at the gate to the trek. And the way down was steep. The views on the other hand where worth it.
What I did not get though is why they call a beach with a natural bridge “tunnel beach”.
Until I was down and turned around that is. Because there it was. – A small little tunnel that went down to the water. Just about high enough that I did not have to duck and wide enough that I could pass through. (The stairs might be a modern addition so tourists do not slide down.)
The views from down there are not to bad either. But I wouldn’t want to use that beach for swimming either. To land with a smuggling boat on the other hand… . Difficult but probably doable.
After climbing back up I went for the bus back to town and booked me into the wildlife tour that was supposed to show me three types of animals: Royal Albatross, New Zealand fur seals and Yellow Eyed Penguins. Every one of them far out on the peninsula and either not accessible via public transport or not accessible at all.
First stop: Royal Albatross at the Albatross centre. – As the birds where nesting and access to the nests is strictly forbidden: Strike one. As we did not have any wind which these birds with a wingspan of up to 3 meters need: Strike two. The only one we did see decided to take another route than usual while trying to gain some height. – Strike three.
So yes I’ve seen on e. I even have a picture of it. But it’s not impressive at all.
Well next stop was the penguin sanctuary. At our arrival we had wind, rain and a nice double rainbow. And some sheep gracing.
The penguins are so used to group tours that they did not even blink an eye when we passed them. According to the guide this would be different if only one person came to visit them.
The sea lions lying on the beach where not only a danger to the penguins who decided to give them a wide bearth but to curious humans as well if they feel threatened. Not only do they weigh up to 400kg but they can run faster than a human and the have very sharp teeth.
Therefore we were all a bit on edge when we had to pass them. But they did not really feel in the mood to chase us.
After having passed the new owners of the beach we could come almost at arms length with some of the penguins. The way they waddle around and climb the cliffs is really a sight to behold.
So penguins. – Check!
The only missing species where the sea lions. Or better the sea lion families which have a nursery just around the corner. Here we could watch them from a distance with their young. One of the male sea lions was a little bit to early and wanted to copulate while the female was still with her young. Fortunately the seal was not harmed by the big male. – Life as a female sea lion does not have much common with gender equality.
Our arrival back in town was at 9 pm and the next day the bus left at 7 am so I made my way back into the hostel and met the twins again.