Otago Peninsula – ‘finest example of ecotourism in the world’
Otago Peninsula was a volcano some 10 or 13 million years ago – give or take a week or three!
65-thousand years ago it became an island when sea levels rose and, more recently, it became a peninsula. Captain Cook and the hardy self-sufficient pioneers fought battles with the elements along the notorious 2000 kilometres coastline which is now scattered with shipwrecks.
The area is not just a day trip from Dunedin but a destination in its own right and during my ten days in Dunedin – traveling in a car from NZ RentaCar - and I spent time in Ngaio Cottage in Broad Bay.
This cottage, built in the 1930s, when my hosts, Julz Asher & Lutz Ritter, bought it I’m told ‘it looked very different’ to the charming, well-appointed accommodation it is today. ‘It was unlivable. In fact, everything is new – except a few boards,’ Lutz said.
The fittings and furniture were chosen with care, resulting in beautiful and tasteful atmosphere. I have no idea how many stars this place has, but I’d give it 4 or 5!
This is a fabulous place to stay and use as a base to explore the peninsula, and the Dunedin region – check out these photos.
I’m not the only one who rates Otago Peninsula:
- Neville Peat a local nature writer based in Broad Bay says the whole area is a ‘kind of supermarket for marine life, souped up by currents and adjacent deep-water canyons.
- Lonely Planet has Taiaroa Head listed in its Oct 2011 book ‘1000 Ultimate Sights’
- Botanist and environmentalist David Bellamy said the peninsula is ‘the finest example of ecotourism in the world’ while Mark Carwardine, zoologist and outspoken conservationist, writer, TV and radio presenter, wildlife photographer, columnist, best-selling author, a wildlife tour operator calls New Zealand a “wildlife hotspot”. He also says it’s one of the best places in the world to see great wildlife and recently he was on a whirlwind tour, searching for our equivalent to Africa’s ‘big five’, the New Zealand ‘small five’ – all endangered species: hector’s dolphin; kea, kiwi, tuatara, yellow-eyed penguin all which are found on or around this amazing outcrop of land.
I have written some stories about the area, and more to come about – albatross, penguins, castle, boat trips, fur seals, settlers museum, bus stops, birds, gardens, heritage city walks, the Taieri Gorge train, Chinese gardens, butterfly house and the Orokonui eco-sanctuary and more.