Kea, however, will always delight me.
On the drive from Milford Sound to Mt. Cook, we stopped in Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. Dunedin was a sweet little city; it's definitely my favorite city on the South Island! I wanted to visit penguin colonies on the Otago Peninsula. The iSite tourist information bureau told us there was a chance that we might see penguins at a certain beach. We went to that beach and got talking to a few friendly, kind Kiwis who told us that we'd have much better luck at a different beach. Puttered down the potholed, one-lane country road, pulled into the carpark, ran down the largest sand dune I've ever seen, and HOLY SMOKES that's a BIG and unexpected mammal!
We did make it to the hide while the yellow-eyed penguins were coming back to land from fishing at sea all day. I was totally stoked, because yellow-eyed penguins are some of the rarest penguins in the world.
Here are the rest of the photos, with commentary: