Dunedin, New Zealand: setting the scene for a series of blogs about attractions in the area including ‘the peninsula’, the ‘ finest example of eco-tourism.’
Otago Peninsula was a volcano some 10 or 13 million years ago – give or take a week or two.
65 thousand years ago it became an island when sea levels rose and, more recently, now a peninsula, Captain Cook and the hardy self-sufficient pioneers fought battles along the notorious 2000 kilometres coastline which is now scattered with shipwrecks.
With an annual rainfall of 700/800 millimetres and mists that roll in from the sea it now has 5% of the area covered in bush: mainly broadleaf trees and kanaka.
- Neville Peat a local nature writer based in Broad Bay says the area is a ‘kind of supermarket for marine life, souped up by currents and adjacent deep-water canyons. The accolades continue.
- 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 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’ endangered species: hector’s dolphin; kea, kiwi, tuatara, yellow-eyed penguin .. all found on or around this amazing outcrop of land.
This area is not just a day trip from Dunedin but a place to base yourself – a destination in its own right.
So watch this space (make it easy by signing up for email updates on the top right-hand corner of this page) for stories about albatross, penguins, castle, boat trips, fur seals, settlers museum, bus stops, birds, gardens, fabulous cottage accommodation, heritage city walks, the Taieri Gorge train, Chinese gardens, butterfly house and the Orokonui ecosanctuary and more!
The New Zealand rental car company I used in Dunedin was the New Zealand Rent A Car (branches all over NZ)