Tasmania & New Zealand 2014 travel blog

Agapantha (?) on Otago Peninsula

Otago Harbour

Surf at Taiaroa Head

Kelp in the surf

Albatross soaring at Taiaroa Head

High Cliff Road on Otago Peninsula

Well, the wind let up overnight, but it was cold and drizzly this morning. Finished yesterday’s journal, uploaded it, checked email, etc. Boiled water for tea and oatmeal. Had a slow getaway, then we stopped for groceries. Kept hoping the weather would improve. Still hoping. The rain did stop.

Today we explored the Otago Peninsula. We drove out along the north shore road along Otago Harbour. Often shore roads are not that close to the shore. This one was—one wheel off the pavement and we would have been in the water (after a 6 foot drop). Two narrow lanes, no shoulders, and winding. Not a lot of up and down, though.

We stopped at a rest area and took these photos. I think the flowers are called agapantha (correct me if you know better). They were the favorite landscaping flower in Tasmania, but we didn’t get a photo there. The other photo is of a small bay off the harbour.

Our destination was Taiaroa Head, at the end of the peninsula, where the world’s only mainland royal albatross colony is located. We didn’t see the actual nesting sites, but we did see some albatrosses soaring overhead. Once in awhile they flew in pairs, in tandem like a pair of Blue Angels at an air show. Totally neat! We also got some good views of surf pounding cliffs, with other seabirds and seals/sea lions (couldn’t tell at this distance) on the rocks. Plus there was some amazing kelp that swirled like hair in the surf.

On the way back, we took the “High Cliffs Road” instead of the shore road. It was even narrower, windier, and in addition had ups and downs and clouds and fog. Along the way we saw a harrier hawk take off from my side of the road just before we passed. But we made it back in one piece and without running out of fuel. We put 75 litres in our 80 litre tank.

It was about 5:30pm, and we decided to head down the road for a ways before stopping for the night. We ended up in a DOC campsite south of Owaka. It is similar to a US Forest Service campsite—vault toilets, no power, no drinkable water, and definitely no WiFi. But we are self-sufficient in our little camper van. I heated a can of chili for supper, with cheddar and crackers, and am drinking a glass of wine as I type this. Will load it when we have internet.

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