After a swift departure from the cold of Wanaka (only 2C) in daytime, we made our way to the even colder Queenstown. We had planned to go luging (small go-carts down a ski hill) but as has our luck been, the track was frozen over and no luging for that day. We consoled ourselves in a Starbucks, walked around than drove for 5 hours to the lovely town of Oamaru. To our surprise is was a beautiful not so small town with lots to see and do. We planned to see only the little Blue Penguin at dusk as this is when they come ashore for the evening. It is the worlds smallest penguin. Unfortunately, the place would not allow cameras as too many irresponsible people who don't know how to turn off thier flashes disturb the penguins. When we checked into our place for the evening lo and behold the world's rarest penguin: Yellow-Eyed, comes ashore at another beach nearby. We thought they were only further south in Dunedin. Soooooo, we hastily drove to that beach to observe these guys. It was great! We saw about 12 in total of the estimated 800 left in the wild over a cold 45 mins. It was nice to see that the beach was very protected and the conservation office created a observatory on the cliff as the penguins are very skittish and will not come out of the water if they see people. It was a very fortunate experience. The next day we wandered around this Victorian style town with period buildings as well as the shop people dressed to match. Lovely. We are now headed to Christchurch where we plan to spend the next 3 days.
Chris and Troy