Dunedin was another favorite port on this cruise!  Not only was the location beautiful, but we also got to see some of the main animals associated with New Zealand – sheep, penguins, birds, sea lions.  Keeping in tradition, we didn’t book any of the cruise shore excursions for Dunedin.  We’ve had our luck so far in just hopping off the boat and making our own way through whatever city we’re in.  Sure, it’s sometimes a bit hectic for the first few moments, but we end up with a great day no matter what.

In the case of Dunedin, we headed into an area known as the “Octagon” as that’s where the Visitors Centre is.  The place was packed with tourists trying to book adventures and sightseeing tours.  We discovered that the tours were all booked, but the rep did a great job organizing an “unofficial” tour for us.  So, it was the 4 of us + 4 other people who were also from the cruise, and we actually ended up being a better deal than the excursions/tours that the cruise offered! 

1st stop – Penguin Place.  I definitely recommend a trip here if you’re passing through Dundin.  Penguin Place is a conservation reserve (read, not a zoo. Do not come here expecting to see tons of penguins doing backflips for dead fish) located on the Otago Peninsula, and it’s home to the third tallest penguin – the Yellow-eyed Penguin.  The YEP only lives in New Zealand, and unlike most penguins, they are solitary in nature – and monogamous (they say there’s about a 7% “divorce” rate among YEPs!).   And, we were very lucky to have visited when we did becuase we got to see baby YEPs…I wanted to take one home with me!! 

My parents were in a different group than us, and they scored big with the chance to see both parents at home and a feeding!  Check it out:

After Penguin Place, our driver took us to check out the Royal Albatross Colony – the only mainlaind breeding grounds for these birds – at Taiaroa Head. Apparently, the Albatross is an amazing bird of some sort; found mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, they have an enormous wingspan and are so aerodynamic that they’re able to fly for hours at a time! Anywho, we didn’t actually tour the RAC, but it was a great spot to get a bird’s-eye view of the Otago Peninsula/Harbour. And, I don’t think any of us actually saw an Albatross there…although, we did see one a day or so later flying next to the cruise ship!

Once we got back to the city centre, we ate at Velvet Burger. The name was calling me…and I was not disappointed. The burgers were seriously knife-and-fork size, and of course, topped with the craziness I have come to expect and love of food out here! What’s more, I loved that they categorized their beverages menu into – Beer & Not Beer!

All in all, cruising around the Otago Peninsula was a great day!