13 Dec

There’s something about penguins isn’t there?  They’re just so damn cute.  When we found out that you can see wild penguins in New Zealand’s South Island, our itinerary was determined straight away.  There are very few places in the world that you can see wild penguins, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

We decided to go to The Penguin Place, on the Otago Peninsula as they guaranteed we’d see a penguin .  It’s a private reserve, set up in the 1960’s when the farmer who owned the land heard about the problems facing the shy Yellow Eyed Penguins.  He fenced off a section of his farm where they nest, including three beaches, which are now completely closed to humans at all times.  As a result, the number of nesting pairs has steadily increased and the population’s pretty healthy.  They have a resident scientist who studies them and they offer small guided tours.

After a very informative talk about their life cycle and habits, it had never occured to me that penguins and humans are the only two creatures who walk upright, maybe that’s why we find them so cute, we set off in a rattly old bus over the farm to the reserve.

We were warned that we had to be very very quiet, as any noise from us would upset them and scare them away.  Children duly warned, we set off through a network of dusty tunnels and trenches to a series of hides, each one with a view of a nest or two.  I had my doubts about seeing them in this relatively artificial setting, but it was wonderful.  The hides meant that we were so close to the penguins that we could have touched them.  We watched them spreading oil on their feathers in readiness for swimming.  We saw parents grooming the fluffy dun coloured chicks.  We listened to them calling their swimming partners home. The children loved it and even Dickon managed to keep quiet for the whole hour.  It passed all too quickly.  They’re lovely those penguins.


8 Responses to “Pingu”

  1. Vegemitevix 13/12/2010 at 7:54 pm #

    How gorgeous! Did you go out to the Albatross Colony? And have you seen my old University – the University of OTago! xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/12/2010 at 5:57 am #

      Yes to the albatross colony, no to the university!

  2. Kelly 13/12/2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Penguins have always been my absolute favourite, I am beyond jealous!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/12/2010 at 6:01 am #

      They’re gorgeous aren’t they?

  3. christinemosler 13/12/2010 at 9:18 pm #

    I’m running out of F words…fabulous, fantastic, fandabidozi! I too had not realised we had so much in common with penguins, I like them even more now. So glad they were obliging and very well done Dickon!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/12/2010 at 6:55 am #

      He is probably the noisiest child in the universe, but he has his moments!

  4. Sarah 15/12/2010 at 2:45 pm #

    How adorable! I adore the Otago Peninsula, so beautiful and the wildlife so unique and amazing. Last time I was there was 6 year’s ago… Ah, sigh, must pack up the wee ones for a road trip some time x


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