Saturday, December 14, 2013

"You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska": A taste of the south, you can see Antarctica

OK well I'm not in Alaska, but I am at the edge of New Zealand, the very southern tip in fact and I may or may not be able to see Antarctica.
You see that? That's Antarctica. OK....not really, it is a cloud. 
In reality, Antarctica is quite far away from New Zealand, but I was able to get a taste of the cold arctic weather while in Dunedin, Invercargill, and Catlins National Park. This area on the southern most point of New Zealand's south island, I found seals, sea lions, penguins, albatross, and all sorts of other cold-weather animals. New Zealand is home to some of the world's rarest penguins and rarest sea lions. The natural and harsh beauty and environment of this region is perfect for these animals to flourish and I was lucky enough to spot some of them.

I know it is a cheesy photo, but bear with me, we were excited

Yellow-eyed penguin, one of the world's rarest penguins

So darn cute! 
To give you an idea of where we were, we found this conveniently located sign on Slope Point, the southern most part of the south island. We were in between nowhere and somewhere, and it was awfully cold. We camped here for the night and looked out over the beautiful sunset on the ocean as the wind howled through. I did take a wee off the "edge of the world"...but I figured that picture might be a bit too much information for most.

Even though it is cold in this part of the world, the sheep seem to have no problem with it. 
Baby got back

In case anybody was wondering, there are sheep everywhere here in New Zealand. The government claims to have 40 million in the country, and after 2 months here, I believe I've seen about 35 million of them. No joke. The south of the south island is truly a treat and it unfortunately seems that not many visitors take the time to get down here. One of the beautiful things about this time of year is that there aren't that many visitors because holiday season doesn't start til mid-December; on top of that, many baby animals are walking around and the whole country is covered in spring flowers. 

Camping down by the river in Fiordland

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