Parents Visit NZ
My parents have arrived in Dunedin, NZ! They traveled from Boston all the way to visit me, a feat that I am beyond happy they accomplished. It has been 9-almost-10 months since I have seen them and watching them walk off the plane was really special for me (even a bit tearful!). I will not go into too much detail about our time in Dunedin except to list all the things we did! Most of these things I have talked about in previous posts or will talk about in the future. Here goes.
Day 1- 5 Feb 2019 Tuesday
Arrival at Dunedin Airport. I picked them up and drove them to my flat, were they met Pickle my kitty and unloaded their luggage. After a short rest, we met my flatmate Djuna at Mamacita’s. BEST TACOS IN DUNEDIN… maybe even Otago! A quick grocery trip to Countdown and an early night
Day 2- 6 Feb Wednesday
Breakfast at Vanguard Speciality Coffee. Mel, the wonderful PhD candidate + Yellow-eyed penguin expert invited my parents and I to join her in the field at Aramoana Beach. Our goal was to attach a GPS unit to one of the chicks about to fledge. Getting my parents to climb up dunes and wander through bush was hilarious, and they even seemed to enjoy it. Although it didn’t go to plan due to unexplained mortality and a challenging breeding season for the Yellow-eyed penguin, we did get to see a NZ sea lion and had a lovely stroll on the beach. We enjoyed dinner at Etrusco, an Italian restaurant Mel recommended. Fabulously delicious pasta and pizza.
Day 3- 7 Feb Thursday
Breakfast at The Good Earth Cafe near the University of Otago campus. We went to the University stores to buy sweatshirts and other Otago gear. Not quite the expansive inventory like US college stores, but I got some good stuff (so did mom!) We then continued to the Otago Peninsula. First stop, Sandfly Bay (check out this blog post for more about Sandfly Bay). To make a very long story short, we reported an injured Yellow-eyed penguin to the Department of Conservation (0800 DOC HOT), who came shortly thereafter to rescue and bring to the Wildlife Hospital. Mom and Dad were incredible, hiking up Sandfly is a difficult feat for anyone, and they succeeded! Quick beer and chips at the Portobello pub. We then went off to the Royal Albatross Center where we witnessed two (I think) albatoss flying overhead. It was VERY windy so we didn’t stay long. We then hung out a bit until our tour at Penguin Place at 6:15pm. With over 55 Yellow-eyed penguin chicks currently in their care, they are working non-stop to take care of these underweight birds. We saw them during a feeding session which was beyond incredible. A short bus ride to their private reserve brought us up close to NZ fur seals and sea lions. Although we did not see a penguin coming to shore, the trip was beautiful and really puts into perspective the plight of these seabirds- where there used to be 25 nests now there are 4 (unsuccessful) ones. Finally, we went back to the Albatross Center for a quick bite to eat before going on the Little Blue tour (check out this blog post about the tour). A quite time of the year as they are bulking up pre-molt, only a portion of the colony returns at night. That being said, we were graced with 50-60 penguins scrambling out of the water and up to their nests. While it was a jam packed day, I was able to show them some of my favorite places and experiences in Dunedin and on the peninsula. Anything with penguins is always a bonus and bound to be spectacular (you know me!)
Day 4- 8 Feb Friday
Shopping in town after breakfast at Excelsior Cafe. Dinner and a pint at Emerson’s Brewery and a shopping trip to Warehouse (like Target/Walmart). I am a lucky girl!
Day 5- 9 Feb Saturday
Otago Farmer’s Market and the yearly Theives Market rounded out the morning. Let’s just say there was quite the crowd- a cruise ship increased this too! Djuna drove us to the airport to collect our red rental car so we could continue our journey to Nugget Point!
To be continued….