...East towards Dunedin, and what we found to be a nice little city, with a charming University, but a city that we didn't really spend enough time in in order to appreciate it. We took a wander around Otago University, and felt like cool college kids again.
Because we arrived later in the afternoon, we were a bit pressed for time, as we wanted to make it out to the Peninsula to find a place we could call home for then night before it got dark.
After mis-navigating our way out of the city several times (that'll happen every now and then with me and cities), we found ourselves on Portabello road at about 4:30 pm. It turned out to be quite a perfect time to catch the sunset over the bay, and the sky, with a lingering thick fog was gorgeous. Anyone driving on Portabello road might just as well be driving IN the bay, for the road is only a couple feet from the shore, with no barriers whatsoever. It is narrow and winding, and with views as it has, I would say it would make it one of the most dangerous roads to drive, for the driver has to use every will power he has not to take his eyes off the road and gawk at the views to his left. We stopped for many a photograph.
Portabello road continues like this until you reach the point of the peninsula, so we realized quickly that the peninsula was not that conducive to freedom camping. And all the better, for we also realized pretty quickly that the peninsula is a sanctuary for wonderful wildlife, including rare species like the Albatross and the Yellow-eyed Penguin. We all know how much human presence and negligence can have a fatal impact on birds such as these. So, we decided to forgo our search for a free spot, and parked ourselves at the Portabello Tourist Motor Park.. where we joined 3 other members of the white-campervan-gang, and enjoyed a nice hot shower and a kitchen to cook in.
The next morning we took a drive out to the point, in hopes of seeing some Albatross and the lighthouse. The path to the lighthouse was closed to pedestrians, for some reason, and the Albatross were view-able only by paying a $25 tour fee. So, instead we hit the vistors center and caught a video on longline fishing and the endangered Albatross. We were engrossed by it, and learned pretty quickly why these huge birds are declining so rapidly in numbers. When longline fishing lines are not weighted down, or when the fishermen do not use proper reflectors on their lines to deter seabirds, the birds swarm the boats and go right for the bait on the lines, get hooked, and simply drown. Thousands of birds are dying in this way, and the problem is immense. As consumers, we can buy fish that is "seabird friendly" which means that fishermen have taken the necessary measures to detract the birds. It is not difficult for the fishermen to do, and like many issues concerning endangered wildlife, it all begins with educating people about what simple measures they can take to do their part to keep the species alive.
So, we left the peninsula a bit more educated, I might say, than before. Always a good feeling.