Saturday, April 6, 2013


Our last big stop was Dunedin, which turned out to be a far larger city than we suspected; and it had a lot of sites to see.  One stop was the Cadbury Chocolate Factory for a pictures, though, and we ate all the evidence! We did drive out to the Otago Peninsula, though, and take another cruise out on the ocean to see albatross and more sea lions.  Because it was the end of the tourist season, there were only FOUR passengers (we three and one other nice lady "our age"), so we got undivided attention. It was hilarious trying to take pictures, though, because the waves were so choppy.  We wore rain coats, loved the sites, and laughed a lot at our slippin' and slidin'.

What seals look like when the boat is moving a lot!

Then a few pics when I could get my balance...momentarily!

It was also very interesting on this cruise to learn about the large albatross birds that are only found in a few places in the world.  There is a conservation area here on the Otago Peninsula, where these birds are protected.

"Mom" bringing food to her chicks

One of the most enjoyable tours in Dunedin was to the Larnach Castle, where we saw the most incredible views and amazing gardens.  Here are some of our favorite pictures from there.

I never tire of all the beautiful flowers here in New Zealand...'s like the whole country is a garden of paradise.

These are in the USA...but maybe 1/4 this size.

Panoramic scene

Almost dusk

Another really enjoyable excursion was to the Penguin Place, a working conservation program to preserve New Zealand's yellow-eyed penguins, located on the Otago Peninsula.  These penguins are very shy, so to observe them, we had to be shielded in "blinds" to keep them from seeing us and being frightened off.  We got quite a few good pictures and even a video clip, but the latter will have to wait until I boost my computer knowledge.  Aren't they just so cute?!

After two nights in Dunedin, we headed back to Queenstown for one last night before ending our vacation.  Last stop before arriving in Queenstown was Arrowtown, a really fun quaint former gold-mining location, which is now mostly a touristy place with great little shops and yummy restaurants.  I only took one picture, but I think you'll agree it's a classic.


We spent a night in Invercargill after two nights in Te Anau and two nights in Queenstown. There wasn't a lot to see in Invercargill, but driving from Invercargill to Dunedin, we just kept stopping at one picturesque site after's some more seaside pictures:
Small town called Bluff from where a ferry can be taken to Stewart Island

The lighthouse at Bluff

Impressive home behind the lighthouse...would have loved a tour!

Distance sign at Bluff...all the tourists gotta have a picture of this!

Interesting monument at Bluff
We wanted to show Jeanie a Maori marae, and we heard there was one in Bluff, so we drove around until we found it. Unfortunately, it was locked, so we couldn't see the interior except through windows. However, it was the most modern marae we have seen in New Zealand and worth getting picture memories.
Te Rau Aroha Marae - Bluff, New Zealand - note brick inlaid walkway 
Closeup of main building on the marae

Dedication sign

Doorway into main building

Peek through venetian blinds at fascinating interior

Jeanie decided to do an hour hike at Bluff, all uphill, so we decided to join her by driving to the top.  While up there, we did get some beautiful long-distance pictures, plus a scenic view of part of the walkway she took climbing to the top.
View from the top of Bluff

Maori sign explaining the surroundings

Tree-lined walkway up from the beach
Another fun venture was a short hike through a field to a beach with sea lions, along with a sign you never see in the United States.

A sea lion and his mate...or girlfriend

Another lighthouse further down the road...sign below:

Ocean view from the Waipapa Lighthouse

Walking through a field to most southern point of New Zealand

Power of the wind seen in the clump of trees

We were HERE!

Love the views from here

Waves crashing into the powerful!

Two of us looking a bit haggard as we headed back to the car

Jeanie heading down the trail
Still on our way to Dunedin and stopping at  more "intriguing" sites.
Much like a rain forest, I guess

Lots of fern "umbrellas"

The Purakaunui Falls