Thursday, April 8, 2010

Albatross, Yellow Eye, Beer & Cadberries

A very busy two days. We have been around to a lot of different places and saw some really interesting sites. Yesterday, was a commune with the animals day, and today was commune with civilization day.

Yesterday we went out to the entrance to the Dunedin harbor. There is a sanctuary there for the Royal Northern Albatross. It required some walking up a rather steep hill, but was well worth the climb to the viewing building. The Royal Northen Albatross has a wing span that is about double that of a persons height. They are very graceful in the air.

During this time of the year they are raising chicks. They are still relatively small, but are growing every day. The chicks are basically bid balls of fuzz, and stick very close to the nest. Mom and Dad are also very busy flying out to sea catching mostly squid that they bring back to the nest to feed their chick. It was fun to watch the process while we were at the viewing site.

The next event for yesterday fulfilled one of my goals for this trip. That was to see penguins in the wild. We went to "The Penguin Place" where we were able to walk around into tunnels, and blinds and view the Yellow Eyed Penguin. We were luck in that there were a number of them around. In one case we were able to approach within 20 feet of a pair.

These penguins are a little smaller than the Emperor that was featured in the movie "March of the Penguins", but are still quite large. They are the third largest penguins. They are solitary and are not communial like all other penguins. As you can see they were beautiful animals.

Today we went into Dunedin and spent the day poking around the center of town.

We took in a tour of the Speight's brewery which included some samples of beer at the end of the tour.

From there we spent some time looking around the Chinese Gardens. Dunedin's sister city is Shanghai. The garden was provided by the people of Shanghai. It is small but very beautiful, and serene.

We ended the day with a tour of the Dunedin Cadberi factory. No pictures from inside the plant, but it was very interesting and resulted in a bagfull of samples. YUM.

Tomorrow we are off for Christchurch and the last few days of our trip. We are looking forward to spending a few days exploring the area.

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