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New Zealand 2005

Dunedin and the Yellow-Eyed Penguins |

On Monday morning, Jonathan,Missy and I set out for Dunedin, on the east coast, and the Yellow-Eyed Penguins that live close to there on the Otago Peninsula. Dunedin is a pretty cool town, which has a long history. It was first settled by a bunch of Scots, so there's a lot of Scottish-style homes, churches and other interesting architecture there. For a long time, back in the 19th Century, Dunedin was poised to become perhaps the largest city in the country due to its port and shipping, but it never happened (it is about the 4th largest city). But Dunedin is home to (at least) two universities and because of that has a lively social and cultural scene (it reminds me of a Big 10 town like Ann Arbor or Madison).

And then there's the Yellow-Eyed Penguins, which was my whole reason for coming all this way to Dunedin. These Penguins were once as rare as the Giant Panda, but thanks to some conservationists, their population is re-growing. Just outside of Dunedin on the Otago Peninsula is the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, a place where you can throw down some money, walk through camouflaged trenches off the beach, and observe the penguins as they come in from the sea in the evening and nest on shore. I originally was hoping it would be one of those things were you could just drive out to the beach and watch them come in, but no, it is a protected area where you have to pay money to see them. So it felt a little artificial to me, but I did get to see them after all, and the money goes to helping preserve their way of life, so I guess it is all good.

Locations Visited: Clinton, Milton, Dunedin

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