This morning, we docked in Port Chalmers, the gateway to Dunedin – it was chilly! Diane and I put on all of our layers to brave the weather for the Albatross Express tour.
The first part of the tour was a cruise on the Albatross Express to give us a chance to enjoy the harbour, the weather, the air, the coast, and even see a few birds. Clamming is one of the big contributors to the local economy.
We saw albatross, lots of gulls, old gun emplacements, and the Taiaroa Head Lighthouse on our bumpy, speedy, and chilly cruise.
We then boarded a bus to take us to Natures Wonders for the second part of our tour. Natures Wonders is a privately-owned nature preserve; Perry, one of the owners, was our driver and guide. The scenery was great.
They have lots of New Zealand fur seals on the property.
We stopped at Penguin Beach, which Perry told us had been human-free for more than two decades. We didn’t see any penguins on the beach, but we did see some baby penguins behind a barrier (we weren’t allowed to photograph them, though).
Then it was back to the cafe and visitor center for afternoon tea before returning to the ship. We spent a few minutes unloading before going ashore again for a very brief exploration of Port Chalmers (we didn’t have enough time to go to Dunedin and return before “all aboard” at 4:30).
We hiked up a couple of the hills surrounding the business district. First we walked up to Iona Church, which we’d seen as soon as we arrived in town; the church is being renovated but they hope to be using it again soon.
We had just enough time to go back down and then climb up to the Flagstaff Lookout and Time Ball.
Port Chalmers was our last scheduled landfall in New Zealand, so I spent my New Zealand cash like a drunken sailor (mostly on chocolate), ending up with $1.10 in New Zealand change in my pocket, along with a fifty-cent Cook Islands coin I’d acquired somehow that no one would accept when I tried to spend it.