03.03.2009 - 04.03.2009 16 °C
On the Peninsula just East of Dunedin is Nugget Point, a spot known for having several Seal and Sea Lion colonies, the only mainland Albatros breeding ground in the world as well as a home to New Zealands Yellow eyed Penguins - all well worth a look see we figured.
Driving up to the cliff top headland we had spotted several Albatros' circling but the $40 entrance fee to wander around their breeding grounds put us off investigating further (we've both discovered we're just not that into birds on this trip...sorry!). Strolling along the cliff top path we joined a group of people pointing and cooing over a number of seals far below us sunbathing on the rocks at the waters edge - struggling to make out the seals from the rocks, they blend in perfectly, whilst we were pleased to have glimpsed them we hoped we'd get a better view from them later into our journey.
On the drive back down the steep and windy road i spotted out the corner of my eye a small group of people on the beach with their cameras out. Figuring there was spmething worth pulling over for, we skidded to a stop, waded through the native plantlife (no need to fear impromptu dashes through long grass over here, no deadly snakes or spiders to get you!) on the side of the road and were greeted by two large female Sea Lions frollicking in the shallows. We got close, but not too close, they were pretty large, and got some great shots of them.
On the walk back to the van Kate thought she spotted some sand being thrown in the air so we wandered over to some rocks to investigate. We got within 5-10 metres of a seemingly large pile of rocks before a frikkin large male Sea Lion reared up for a stretch, backing off a little to give the fella some room and take a snap or two. I turned to remark on how well he blended into the rocks to see Kate disappearing into the distance at a great speed - I've seriously never seen her move so fast!
<b>Cannibal Bay - Several non moving sea lions</b>
Bouyed on by our close encounters of the wildlife kind, we detoured around to Cannibal Bay home to more Seals and Sea Lions. Here scattered across the beach were more large lolloping Sea Lions doing very little but sunning themselves and having a wee afternoon nana nap.
All Sea Lioned out we set off for our chosen camp spot of the night, Purakaunui Bay.
The photo's within the DOC booklet made this look like a nice spot for the night and after a long bumpy drive we pulled into a quite simply stunning spot to hunker down, cook some dinner and watch the sunset in another beautiful part of New Zealand.