Home > New Zealand > Day 3: The Otago Peninsula

Day 3: The Otago Peninsula

02 June 2010:

Well, that was a much nicer sleep than the previous night.  We were in a much warmer area than before, and the sleeping bags helped immensely.  Woke up nice and warm (though of course I didn’t want to leave my bedding because outside was so cold.)

We cooked a quick breakfast of cheese omelets and toast (actually just bread).  Using the gas inside helped to heat up the car a whole lot.  (Don’t worry; we left the windows cracked so we didn’t die of gas fumes.)

Waking up to the sound (and sight) of waves was so great, though sadly the sunrise was hidden behind a mountain.  I took a walk on the beach.  Though I have to say, this was the first time I have ever seen a beach with frost on it.

All Crabby

A dead crab that I found on the beach in the morning. You can see the frost on it (as it was on the rest of the shady side of the beach).

Foggy Morning Beach

Our view in the morning. The fog was beginning to lift off the water as the sun hit it.

We drove into Dunedin and walked around a bit.  There were some cool shops, but we weren’t really too interested.  It was a cute town, and I would like to spend a night there some time.

Slight change of plans: Our original intent was to drive down to Invercargill tonight, but the Otago Peninsula looked too amazing to pass up.  Instead, we drove around there all day and pushed Invercargill back a day.

And it was worth it.


A pied oystercatcher, one of the most prominent birds in New Zealand.


Seagulls are very territorial. They tried to chase us away while we were eating lunch. Unfortunately for them, opposable thumbs and rocks come in handy.

The weather has been so nice to us, and today was no exception.  The skies were blue, beautiful, and clear, with just enough of those white, wispy clouds to make it interesting.  (You know the ones: those fluffy things that never seem to block the sun, but are just enough to be pretty to look at.)

We drove along the coast of the peninsula on Portobello Road, which made me think of the Disney song.  Lots of narrow, windy roads, and lots of good places to stop.

Keep Clear!

We stopped along a lot of locations along Portobello Road on the Otago Peninsula. While I don't remember exactly all the locations we stopped along the way, they were all gorgeous and were worth stopping at.

Flower of the Sun

This is one of the most perfectly pristine flowers I have ever seen. It was taken at the same location as the picture above.

Tree of Life

A tree that Kat noticed on the side of the road. Off the main road was a little dirt turnaround. This pile of dirt was in the middle, with the tree growing up and out of it. It's a wonder that it's still going strong with (seemingly) nothing to hold it in place but a tiny bit of fairly loose dirt.


Katrina marked her name in one of the beaches where we stopped.

We tried to see penguins, but they wanted $50/person for a one-hour tour.  We considered it, but we figured we’d rather spend that $100 on else things.

Also, all of my flatmates told me one thing when I left: “Make sure you see a sunset from the Otago Peninsula.  It’s amazing.”  So Kat and I drove around looking for the perfect place to stop and see the sunset.  We found Highcliff Road, the road parallel to Portobello but up on a cliff.  Along Highcliff was a great vantage point overlooking rolling pastures, mountains, and the Otago Harbour.

Rolling Hills

The placed where we stopped to try and see the sunset. Unfortunately, it didn't amount to much.

Sadly, though, a bunch of clouds rolled in right before the sunset, and fog started to as well.  There were a few colors that set in, but nothing close to what we were expecting from the initial set-up.  We didn’t even bother to leave the car and take pictures.

Dunedin in the Evening

Looking over Dunedin at dusk. It looks like a decent sunset, but it really was quite dark at this point, lightened up by the 30-second exposure. This was taken after fumbling around in the fog for quite some time and feeling completely lost and out in the wilderness.

Afterwards, we drove around lost and confused for a bit trying to find Tunnel Beach.  It was dark, and the roads weren’t marked very well.  After at least 45 minutes of driving back and forth, we finally found the car park for Tunnel Beach.  It was decently secluded, though every time a car passed on the main road it felt like their headlights were right next t our car even though they were 1/4 mile away.

We cooked a dinner of butter chicken with broccoli, onions, and rice.  Not bad, but the Satay chicken from last night was way tastier.

We’re going to sleep here for the night and head down to Tunnel Beach tomorrow morning before going to Invercargill.  There are a few houses at the end of this road; I get a little panic attack every time a car passes close by, thinking it’s someone coming to ask us to move our car.  Not sure why, but I have this inborn aversion to doing anything slightly off the norm.  And for some reason, parking in a non-campground overnight is part of that.

See the full set on Flickr! (Photos will be uploaded as I go through each day.)

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