Today’s brief was simple: explore Otago Peninsula, supposedly one of the most romantic places in the world. Although beautiful, I struggled to see the romance. (DH would tease me and ask, "Isn't this romantic?" when I voiced my opinion. Um, no.) We began with a visit to the gardens and Ballroom Café at Larnach Castle. A beautiful, beautiful place but with a complex and tragic history. It's a reminder that money doesn’t guarantee happiness (and sin also has its consequences).
Afterwards we drove out to Taiaroa Head where we observed fur seals swimming in the bay. At one stage we saw three chasing each other and porpoise-ing which was so exciting to watch. Something that puzzles me is the number of tourists who are more interested in selfie photos than the scenery or wildlife. We witnessed this at Milford Sound, but today, after we had pointed out to another couple a fur seal swimming lazily in the bay and turning over and clapping, we were greeted with what appeared to be a disinterested grunt (they may not have understood us) and then they proceeded to take photos of each other while standing directly in front of the seal and checking their camera with their backs to the seal the entire time! It amazes me that anyone would come so far and not show any interest in what’s actually there!
We drove out to Sandfly Bay so named because of the way the sand flies over the dunes (and not for a pesky insect) and saw several sea lions on the beach - and a few tourists getting a little too close for the sea lions’ comfort. DH, as a Kiwi who has enjoyed New Zealand’s outdoors over the years, has struggled somewhat with most of the attractions on the Otago Peninsula being closed to the public unless one pays a [substantial] entrance fee. However, when you see tourists annoying wildlife just to get a good photo you can understand why it’s being operated this way.
We had a rather steep climb back up to the car park: the story of our walks over Stewart Island and Otago Peninsula. I am truly beginning to think I’ll be happy if I never have to climb a hill again. Alas there was one more to go to get to the top of the lookout to Lover’s Leap and I will say that the views were worth it, and at least coming back was all downhill.
We have seen so many wonderful sights, marvelled at incredible wildlife, stood in awe at magnificent scenery, eaten some outstanding food in out of the way places, and met some interesting people. And now it’s all over and I can’t help but feel sad.
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36:9