My second day in Dunedin was spent exploring the Otago Peninsula. Armed with the “Otago Peninsula Tracks” and the “Visitors’ Guide to the Otago Peninsula” leaflets, I set off with the rental car from Dunedin city, driving past the Otago Harbour towards my first stop, Sandfly Bay.
As suggested by my local Airbnb host, I took the Highcliff Road which takes you to the top of the mountain ridge, providing you with views overlooking both sides of the peninsula (as opposed to Portobello Road which just takes you past the harbour).
Sandfly Bay has great big sand dunes leading down to the beach, making it a bit of trek to get down to the sea (and worse to get back up!) but is totally worth it for the close-up views you get of a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals.
There was this one fur seal sleeping a farther way up the beach on its own. As I stood watching, it decided to wake from its hot slumber to make its way down to the cooler water for a bit of a swim. I’ve added a video at the bottom of the post that shows its blobby movements down to the water.
After Sandfly Bay, I made my way towards Sandymount Road to check out the Lovers Leap and The Chasm formations. The walk from Sandymount Road took me through pastures filled with grazing sheep, whilst providing top-down views of Allans Beach, separated by Hoopers Inlet.
Back on Highcliff Road, I took a detour off it to get a photo of Harbour Cone, a 315 metre hill.
Driving through Portobello town, I soon passed Portobello Bay before heading right towards the Okia Flat where The Pyramids are located.
With time to spare, I decided to climb the smaller Pyramid to be rewarded with 360 degree views of Victory Beach, Wickliffe Bay and the Okia Flat.
Heading further north, I made a quick stop at Taiaroa Head, the northern-most point of the peninsula.
My final stop of the day was Penguin Place, where I was hoping to get a glimpse of the most endangered penguin in the world, the Yellow Eyed Penguin. Entrance fees to this privately funded conservation reserve provides you with a fully guided tour of this privately owned farm. There was a one month old penguin chick in the farm which we managed to get quite close to due to the viewing hides the farm contains. Such close access to this, the most endangered penguin species, was more than I could ever imagine! Though pricy, visiting Penguin Place was definitely worth it!
As mentioned above, the video below contains some footage of a New Zealand Fur Seal, as well as an adult yellow eyed penguin. It was pretty magical to be able to get so close to both these animals – hopefully you’ll find the video as interesting as I did!