Today was a travelling day. For our last morning in Kaikoura we went for one last look at the seal colony and then headed up to the lookout. There was definitely more blue in the sky and we could see the bottom of the mountains but the snow-caps remained shrouded in mist just peeking through enough to let us know they were there.
Down at South Bay we braved the icy wind to search the beach for any giant squid that may have washed up. We didn't find any but the beautiful scenery made up for that. We continued south with another quick stop at Ashley River for some bird spotting but no luck. We headed off again and after passing through Christchurch found ourselves in a simply wonderful place. Where you ask? The Cookie Time Factory Shop of course! NZ's most loved cookies since 1983. We were a little overwhelmed with all the delicious choices but ended up deciding on a bag of broken cookies and some white chocolate cookie slice.
Back on the road and before long it was time to stop again. This time at the Big Salmon in Rakaia. We got the obligatory photos and then grabbed some salmon for lunch at the cafe.
Down the road we finally rolled into Oamaru after what felt like a drive that took forever. We checked into our motel and then headed down to the historical precinct. Now, you may or may not know that Oamaru is the steampunk capital of the world.
We arrived at the museum just in time for closing but it looked so irresistibly quirky that we plan on sticking around town just to go there tomorrow.
We wandered around and had a look at all the Victorian era whitestone buildings, which fit in perfectly with the steampunk vibe.
Next we ventured out to Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve in search of one of my most wanted NZ birds, the endangered endemic Yellow-eyed Penguin.
We arrived at 6:40pm to watch them walk up the beach. After an hour of waiting one lone penguin appeared, quickly disappearing into the vegetation. Officially it was a tick on the life list but not a very satisfying view. After sticking it out in the freezing cold dusk for another hour, one more Yellow-eye appeared. This one took it's time wandering up the beach, stopping a few times to preen, and I got to watch it for about ten minutes. It was a great feeling to finally lay eyes on a bird I'd been dreaming about seeing for twelve years.