Penguins, Albatrosses and Beer

(March 3rd 2007)

Last night we drove north to Oamaru to watch the nightly parade of blue penguins. Each night at dusk the penguins return to their chicks to feed them and we sat in darkness, and silence, to enjoy the spectacle. I can say with all confidence that it has been the highlight of the trip for Amanda, as we saw chicks mob adults for food whether they were their parents or not, and the tiny adults preening themselves just yards from where we were sitting. It was a late drive back through drizzle and heavy mist but it was worth it.

This morning we took our time getting up and drove to the Otago peninsula, home of the only mainland albatross colony in the world (see pic above). We saw three chicks (huge) and several adults, and then what we had all been waiting for, two flying around the colony. These birds are massive, with a three metre wingspan and you only appreciate it when you see one, relatively, close-up.

After that we rushed back to town to join the 2 o’clock Speights brewery tour. We’ve done brewery tours in Halifax (Canada) and Dublin (Ireland) and they’re always good fun, and this was no exception. The free beer at the end helps too.

An early night tonight as we have a long-ish drive in the morning to Mt Cook.

Pt 2 of things we’d forgotten.

The flat white
I think we’ve already mentioned this but we’re going to really miss NZs favourite brew. It’s almost a latte, almost a cappuchino but with more of a coffee hit and always delicious, so long as you get it from a decent coffee shop. We’ve had some dodgy ones, but not many, and when you get a good one….Mmmmmmm. Best one so far? Te Papa museum in Wellington. There must be enough Kiwis in the UK to get these on the menu at Starbucks or Caffe Nero.

Breakfast New Zealand style
No I’m not talking about bacon and eggs, but the morning tv show. I know I said tv was awful here but Breakfast is an exception. The hosts are sarcastic and opinionated and the guy, Paul, makes me laugh. I always switch the tv on each morning to get my fix and it’s another thing I’m going to miss when I get home.

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