Last night we followed a recommedation to visit Tairoa Head where their is a Blue Penguin colony of about 150 pairs. There was as much fun for me watching the volunteer guide get excited and talking with him. He said that he hadn't seen as pretty sunset nor as many penguins swim in together on a flat sea. It looked like a arrow point of darkened rippling from a distance and as they kept swimming towards the beach we could see them porpoising gracefully. All of a sudden 50+ hit the beach and they were on their feet standing about 25cm tall and several cm's apart from each. Over about an hour's time they made it up the beach and through the 40+ humanoids sitting in their way. The sounds of them calling to their partners and also the sounds of chicks calling was kinda loud. Mark had one step on his foot and I was hoping they might jump on our laps but I guess they suspected we were not rocks since our position changes nightly.
I'm very impressed with the volunteers and the DOC to keep these penguins safe and still be accessible to the public. Most of the ecotourism on the Otago is expensive tour's to help offset costs of preserving habitat and predator control while making a profit to live. I think if we all pitched in $5 donation, the DOC would be able to do the job better especially since conservation funding is not adaquately funded by the NZ government.
And no, we didn't visit the castle. We are giving our $ to the penguin trust.