Day 18: Oamaru - Moeraki - Dunedin
13 January 2010
3050km - map

The drawback of camping near the freight terminal is that you get woken very early by the port springing into action, so we were on the road relatively early today. We headed south along the coast to Oamaru to see the Blue Penguin colony but unfortunately they all go out to sea to feed during the day, returning to their nests around dusk. So there wasn't much to see apart from a man-made nesting shed where a few penguins were sitting on clutches of eggs carefully guarded by RSPB types where you could look into a small box and see the penguins up close, but there was strictly no photography and only whispering tolerated.

As we couldn't hang around until dusk, we moved on. Next stop Moeraki, interesting for its boulders - almost spherical rocks eroded from the cliffs, each about 2m in diameter, poking out from the otherwise featureless beach. Just along the coast was Feur's Place, a rather good, if a little shabby looking from the outside, fish restaurant so we stopped for some lunch.

It seems Fleur is world famous in restaurant terms, having featured in a TV programme by Rick Stein and frequented by a couple of hollywood stars (apparently Gwyneth Paltrow was here a couple of months ago). It was very busy and with hindsight we should have booked but luckily there was some space at the bar and we sat down to eat. I had Blue Cod wrapped in bacon with a whine wine sauce with cockles and Sarah had Cajun Salmon. They were excellent. I've never had cockles before but in the sauce they were actually nice. We got speaking to a local fisherman who supplies the restaurant and he told us about how Fleur's Place came about, how the building used to be a fish store for the local harbour and what other kinds of fish we should try whilst in New Zealand.

After lunch we headed further south to Dunedin where we walked up the world's steepest residential street (1 in 2.86) and then drove out to the tip of the Otaga peninsular to see the albatross nesting area and the Yellow Eyed Penguins. Again, the penguins wouldn't be about until dusk (and I didn't fancy driving back along the twisting peninsular road just a couple of meters from the sea in the dark) but we saw several albatross flying and swooping around in the skies amongst the gulls.

Back on the mainland we eventually found the campsite we were looking for after a couple of wrong turns. A nice quiet spot off the beaten track by a river which is popular swimming and fishing spot with the locals. On the plus side there's a toilet, on the down side it's a Glastonbury-style long drop! After a big lunchtime meal we settled for something more simple for dinner - ham sandwiches :o)

Boulder Rocks at Oamaru
Fleur's Place
The World's Steepest Residential Street in Dunedin
The Otaga Peninsular
Driving along the Otaga Peninsular