|This leads to a beach|
|Hey Mr. Sandman|
|There were in fact cliffs|
|View from the beach|
|Holland America Y'all|
The beach itself was not nearly as beautiful as Tunnel Beach, but it was still pretty fantastic. The best part though was the wildlife. Not only did we see a number of sea lions but we also saw a pod of dolphins. They swam right up to a walkway near shore, racing each other and playing in the water right next to us for about about 10 minutes. It was pretty incredible.
|Beaching it up in December|
|It's a Dolphin!|
We also attempted to take a video of the dolphins with Jess' camera. It did not go as well as we had hoped. If you are wondering we did not, in fact, realize that the camera was filming.
On Monday, Christmas Eve, our beach extravaganza continued when Jess finished with work at noon. We spent the afternoon at St. Clair Beach which is the most popular beach in Dunedin. We only spent enough time there to soak up some sun and try out the new beach chairs we had bought (they were an excellent purchase). Some of our German roommates were nice enough to invite us to Christmas Eve dinner. We had a lovely dinner with them, made by our roommate Lisa's visiting parents, and then opened some presents together afterword. It turns out that Christmas Eve is the more important day for Germans, and is when they have their big Christmas meal and open all their presents.
On Christmas Day we were back at our beach going ways. After opening some gifts, and driving about twenty or so minutes outside of Dunedin to Seacliff in order to help a friend with some car trouble, we stumbled upon Warrington Beach which is a few minutes outside of Dunedin in the little town of Warrington. So we spent almost all of Christmas Day relaxing in the sun and enjoying a beautiful day at the beach. We were even able to go for a swim! The water was actually fairly warm and we had a great time swimming in the surf. I can confidently say that it is probably the best weather either of us has seen on Christmas Day. We also made sure to follow Kiwi tradition and grill out for Christmas dinner.
|Enjoying the beach and the beach chair|
|A beautiful day in Dunedin|
|I am smug about the weather and ability to grill|
Our beach streak ended on Christmas day, but we did manage to have some fun on our first celebration of Boxing Day (the day after Christmas is also a holiday, which is nice). Our roommates Amy and Vea had been to the local racecourse to celebrate Melbourne Cup Day (the Australasian version of the Kentucky Derby) earlier in the year and so the racecourse sent them free tickets to the Boxing Day Races as a Christmas gift. They were unable to attend though, and so let us use the tickets. The weather wasn't great (another reason our beach streak ended) but we managed to have a good time. We wound up using the money we brought along to buy mini donuts, rather than use for betting, which may not have been the best decision. It turns out Jess has an uncanny knack for picking horses; she picked the winner or near winner 2 out of 3 times. She rubbed my face in her superior handicapping enough, without there being any money involved.
The weather did not cooperate the rest of the week (such is Dunedin, the weather is streaky and unpredictable) but we were able to get a really nice day of weather on Saturday for our trip to Moeraki. Moeraki is a tiny fishing village about an hour north of Dunedin famous for the Moeraki Boulders that populate a small stretch of beach nearby. After arriving in town we spent most of the day walking along the beach in order to see the famous boulders. They were, to be honest, very underwhelming. While cool and all, there were not that many and they were not quite as awe inspiring or incredible a natural phenomenon as we were led to believe. Still we got some pretty cool photos.
|A famous boulder of Moeraki|
|Jess loves the Moeraki Boulders|
|I am trapped in a boulder|
|King of the Boulders!|
|View from the penguin hide|
On Sunday we woke up early for our main reason to visit Moeraki, a sea fishing trip. The weather was not the best, as it rained our entire time out and the seas were fairly rough (we both had to deal with a bit of nausea). All and all though it was a good trip out. We caught an incredible amount of fish (sea perch and blue cod), and Jess and I went home with 44 filets to stock our freezer with. Even cooler, once we were far enough out on the water we were followed by albatross the entire time. At one point I think we had about 50 following the boat! They were some pretty incredible birds, they had huge wingspans and looked like they could glide for days, but landing was not exactly their forte. We had a few Royal Albatross following us, but most of our entourage was made up of a slightly smaller species.
|Albatross Landing Zone|
|Caught a lot of these|
After our eventful Christmas we are taking it easy and hanging out in Dunedin for the New Year. This coming Friday though we start our first big road trip of the summer. We'll be driving up the South Island to Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park. Once we get back we should have plenty to post about, so expect another big update then!