Oamaru to Dunedin Road Trip

Moeraki Otago

Next morning, true to his word, there’s no sign of Bob except a note on the table. I load our bags and drive to the top of a steep hill where I spot Bob doing stretching exercises.

I pull up alongside and he hops in gratefully.

A little further along is the Bushy Beach Penguin Colony, where we huddle together in the Dept. of Conservation hide with cameras at the ready.

Suddenly a penguin pops out of the grassy bank above the beach and lands on the sand. Further up the beach another follows suit, and they both waddle to the sea in unison.

“Their eyes are extraordinary,” says Bob, zooming in, “but I’d like to see them closer.”

When no other penguins appear, we walk back to the car and head south towards Dunedin. Thirty-five minutes later we arrive in the tiny fishing village of Moeraki and park by the jetty, outside a popular café called Fleur’s Place. We set off briskly along the beach to the Moeraki Boulders, accompanied en route by a mischievous pod of common dolphins.

After marvelling at the perfect roundness of the large boulders, we head back to Fleur’s where we have some deliciously fresh scallops and Thai fish cakes before driving south along picturesque Katiki Beach and on through Palmerston, which gleams with fresh paint.

As the sun dips low in the sky and the landscape changes to ranges and deep forested valleys, we descend into Dunedin. A wealth of eco-activities await but our first port of call is Penguin Place, where Howard McGrouther leads us through an intricate network of burrows in the dunes to large cavern-like hides. Bob clicks off round after round as a penguin known as ‘Paul’ carefully shuffles his white belly over a huge pearly egg until it disappears from view.

“Unforgettable,” Bob whispers. “It’s absolutely unforgettable.”