We woke up in Fortrose again and headed north for Curio Bay, what we understood to be our best bet at seeing the world’s rarest penguin, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. We arrived at Curio, realizing during the drive there, that we had misjudged our timing on when to hit the beach, and weather was less than desirable. Generally speaking, the best time to catch penguins is early evening around 5-8pm depending on the location. This is when they are returning from the water (and feeding) to head back into the brush where they nest, and feed their young. We arrived promptly at 10 am. Nowhere NEAR the optimal time.
We stood staring at the petrified “forest” in the water below. Yeah, millions of years ago, piles and piles of enormous trees got locked into this bay, leaving behind stumps, and long trunks lying down which have formed a solid bed of petrified logs and stumps! It’s an astounding image when you take the time to look at it both from close up and afar, and really see the textures, and what has happened there. What appear to be recently fallen tree trunks, are in reality fallen trees millions of years old below your feet, and rock solid.
Back to the penguins, as we stared at the petrified forest, I all of a sudden spotted slight movement at the end of the bay, where there were two penguins. We dropped down to the bay from the cliff above, and were able to get quite close to them (signage and protocol there asks for you to keep a distance of a mere 5 meters). They are, as all penguins, awkward, slow, cute little creatures. To be honest though, I was quite surprised by how agile and quick they were.
After Curio we headed to Moeraki to have dinner and camp for the night. Again we found ourselves ocean side, with not a single soul in sight.