Travel: Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

Hi friends,

Today’s post is a little different from normal, as I’d just like to share an amazing experience that I have had recently.

I am a big believer in asking the universe for stuff (otherwise known as manifesting) and living through happiness by being grateful for what I already have. It’s the perfect balance between optimism for the future and living in the now. Bearing this in mind, despite asking for incredible experiences I am still amazed when they actually show up in my life.

Through the perfect alignment of the stars, I had a trip to Dunedin, Otago in New Zealand on behalf of my employer. The purpose of the trip was to pick up a car for them, which I will be using whilst under employment. There are many notable things from this paragraph alone which amaze me still.

  1. My employers are amazing.
  2. They are also incredibly generous to provide such benefits to me
  3. Thanks to meeting so many new and interesting friends over here I had a place to stay for the night in Dunedin
  4. I had the perfect ingredients for a wonderful (and economical) trip to a part of New Zealand I was desperate to see
Quick selfie at Portobello

The reason I was so desperate to see Dunedin, was because of the famous Otago Peninsula, which is brimming with wildlife like penguins, albatrosses and other birds, seals, sea lions, etc. Of course, the gorgeous natural beauty of the place was another attraction for me, and so as soon as I had the car I headed for the peninsula’s direction.

My advice to anyone visiting this part of the word is this: don’t pay to see nature.

There are so many companies offering wildlife tours- but (in my opinion) they are such a rip off! They are charging over $100 for tours which I understand this is a good option for people without their own transport but going off by myself to find my own discoveries was so rewarding.

I began my journey by following Portobello Road, despite the twists and turns (and very little separating the road from the sea) I enjoyed the journey. All the while I was thanking the universe for experiences that were yet to happen. It’s midwinter here, and the weather was overcast, but the white of the clouds just seemed to accentuate the green of everything! So many different shades of green, from the turquoise water to the moss green hills. The drive alone was simply spectacular.

Cliff Edge at Harington Point

I followed the road past Portobello, all the way to Harington Point, where the Royal Albatross Centre is. I parked up in the free car park and took a stroll from there. It was a shame that the stairs down to Pilot’s beach were closed (for scientific research according to the sign) as it looked like a great spot for wildlife spotting. To the right of the centre, however there are viewpoints, where you get a perfect view of the albatrosses swooping and soaring around the rocky cliff. I think the centre itself costs around 40 bucks, which is okay if you want to learn about them, but I was simply a casual observer, so the free viewpoint for me was perfect.

Due to road closures, I was unable to do a full circuit around the peninsula, but I was able to turn back on myself and make my way to Sandfly bay, albeit the long way. This journey took me up to the highest viewpoints around, where the numerous sheep were grazing on the hills and beyond them spectacular views of the city of Dunedin.

Highcliff Road Panoramic View

The road to Sandfly Bay was actually closed, but after a little chat with one of the workers I figured out that I could get to the turning point for the bay before the roadworks actually started- so what could have been a setback was actually a huge advantage- because I knew the bay would be practically empty as people would assume they couldn’t get there… (always ask to be sure).

The descending road was so fun to drive on- a long downhill stretch with no other cars. And a small free carpark at the end of it. The view was amazing, there was a storm brewing far off in the distance, but in the opposite direction, past the rocks out to sea, the sky was throwing it’s best efforts for a decent sunset despite the overcast day.

Sandfly Bay

I practically bounded down the pathway, which quickly turned into sand dunes because I knew I was going to be rewarded.  I had been thanking, thanking, thanking all day and I emerged from the sand dunes panting- almost tripping up over a gigantic sea lion. He was so huge, at first I thought it was a rock. It was also barely moving, so then I thought it was dead. But looking around I soon realised there were many, many sealions- often in pairs- almost cuddling and exhausted from their deep-sea fishing.

Waving Sea Lion
Sea lions relaxing and waving as I walk past

I had a moment on that beach. A very deep and very real feeling of connectedness with this earth and everything living here. The sea always does this to me, having grown up in a seaside city, it always gives me unparalleled feelings of gratitude. But to be faced with such magnificent creatures just minding their own business completely unperturbed by me… well it was a moment of great clarity. Not even the really awake (and slightly aggressive) sea lion clearly trying to get it on with his lady could bring me down. In fact that probably made me laugh more.

Resting baby sea lion
Baby Sea Lion

And remember all these moments were free. Aside from fuel costs.

And so, I began the (much slower) ascent up the sand dunes back to the car. Feeling elated, happy and of course grateful. I left the magnificent beasts to their resting time, and thoroughly worn out from my day, sought resting time of my own.

Me with a baby sea lion


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