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To Oamaru

Added: April 05, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW cliffs lake photos
Next day we woke up full of hopes to do helicopter flight to Mt. Cook. It was partially cloudy, but nearly half of sky was clear. We called to Tekapo Helicopter at 9am and they did not know when they will fly. I tried again at 10am with the same result. That's it, we could not wait longer.

According to original plan we wanted to do about 3h long hike in Hooker Valley under Mt. Cook. But due to bad weather we decided to skip it too. We had about 200km to go for today plus some stops and we lost some time by waiting for helicopter friendly weather.

Lake Pukaki

We passed along Lake Pukaki yesterday, but we did not stop due to bad weather. It was much nicer today. Both lakes - Pukaki and Tekapo are beautiful, well worth of visit.

We hoped to see also Mt. Cook, it should be possible from this place, but we were not lucky enough. But we were glad the weather is not like it was yesterday.



I believe Mt. Cook should be there behind the clouds. It seems we decided correctly to skip the hike in that region at this time.


Clay Cliffs

This is another place we ignored yesterday due to weather. The cliffs are next to Omarama, they are visible from road 8, but the access to them is about 4km to east from Omarama. Turn to the left and then again to the left on gravel road.

We paid optional entry fee at gate and went ahead. I suspect locals walking their dogs there saved some money.

The place is wonderful. Quickly moving clouds made it even better. They made interesting patterns of light and shade, changing rapidly so the place looked differently every few seconds.






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Lake Aviemore

After visiting Clay Cliffs and short refreshment in Omarama we headed south to Oamaru.

The country changed a bit. It was more green and ubiquitous sheep started to be white as they are supposed to be. Unlike those dirty brown we have seen before.

We stopped at the Lake Aviemore, at its dam. Peter had geocache there, otherwise we would probably passed along it without noticing. But we would have probably noticed the nice river bellow it, due its colour and picturesqueness.



Invisible rock art at Takiroa

Our next stop has not been planned. We did not find out about Takiroa during our planning. But a big billboard fixed that omission.

Takiroa is small weathered cliff with old paintings. The cliff is very nice, but those paintings are not much visible any more. They eroded a lot or some were taken into museums so there is not much to see any more. We did not bother to go to the nearby place Maerewhenua.


Birds help with erosion of this place.

No, happy face is not part of Maori rock art.

Exotic animals at Oamaru

Oamaru was our final destination for today. We accommodated and went to yellow eyed penguins colony nearby. Owner of the accommodation gave us a map so it was easy to find.

But we came there about one hour ahead of expected return of penguins from their fishing day at sea. It was sunny, but windy and very cold. We were at top of cliff, and by seeing one early arriving penguin in distance we decided to leave. It was too far and too small.

We needed to buy supplies for Milford Trek happening in 2 days, so we went to nearby New World. We bought a lot and started to wonder if we will be able to carry all of them (plus clothes, sleeping bags and other necessary things).

Later in evening we went to Blue penguin colony. This one was closer and penguins were guaranteed to show up, because it was paid one. No, they don't have commission I guess, they just live there in managed breeding habitat, and when chick are kept as hostages, parents willingly return :-)

There is a platform for visitors, place is lighted with sodium lights so people can see penguins, but penguins are not disturbed with the light because they cannot see it.

We sat on the platform and waited. It was expected about 180 penguins will return in about 1 hour. We were told they will arrive in small groups and it take some time to get out of water for all of them. And, of course, photography is strictly prohibited and those employees are watching you.

After looong time, it was already dark, the first group was announced. About 10 penguins came out slowly, hiding between rocks, moving slowly, more waiting than moving. They were small (about 30cm), really cute, doing funny movements, and they seemed totally undecided if they want to go or not. They moved about 2 metres and waited again. Finally they decided to go, but 2 of them turned around and ran away back to sea. After 5-10 min waiting another group arrived. The ritual repeated again, maybe slightly quicker. It started to be quite cold in the meantime. Then the big group arrived and after they ran off to their nests it was announced 86 of them are already home and another about 100 is still in water. But we need patience, because it will take awhile again. A lot of people left and shortly we decided to leave too. We have seen enough of them. We liked this visit a lot. Well worth of money!

Watching/hiding cabin in distance. Yellow eyed penguins don't like to be disturbed.


Sole penguin we have seen at this place.

Blue penguins colony is "around the corner".