The Otago Peninsula, 45 minutes from Dunedin, is a long, hilly indented stretch of land, volcanic in origin. It forms a wall of the eroded valley which forms Otago Harbour.
When she heard about Otago's reputation as a place of amazing wildlife, Kelly Landry couldn't wait to pack her bags.
Nature's Wonders Naturally owner Perry Reid is a true conservationist. His 225-hectare family farm is dedicated to bringing back and protecting native wildlife. He runs daily tours to share his dream and his grand plan is to one day reforest the entire property.
It's not what they do here, it's what they don't do. No feeding, no tagging, no weighing of the wildlife. The odd tagged animal turns up at Nature's Wonders and never leaves. No nests or enclosures have been built. The animals have taken care of their own accommodation needs.
Once a professional shearer, the farm still runs around 3500 sheep and he still shears, although not quite as fast as he could once.
Perry's tours are taken aboard an eight-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle and you will have an exhilarating cross-country ride with breathtaking scenery. You will see wildlife, roaming free in their undisturbed and natural habitats. From the highest point of the farm you can see back up the coast to Moeraki, Oamaru, and Shagg Point.
During nesting season you will see breeding colonies of cormorants living around 200m above sea level. Below you will see a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals and their pups basking on the rock and frolicking in pools. While many animal habitats around the world are shrinking, the numbers at Perry's place are rising. About 1300 seals were born along the coast last year.
Majestic sea lions are natural sand-dwellers and are often seen at Nature's Wonders, as well as leopard seals, elephant seals, orcas and other marine life species.
Birdlife abounds. There are oyster catchers, kingfishers, black back gulls, hawks, albatross and pukeko. A covered, all-weather track leads to Penguin Beach where little blue penguins and the rare and shy yellow-eyed penguin nest.
Perry has had no formal training. His knowledge comes from living amongst the animals and that seems to make it all the more special.
The latest big project is the planting of 17,000 native trees on the property, all put in by visitors.
Otago, 45 minutes from Dunedin on New Zealand's South Island.
Nature's Wonders Naturally costs $50 for adults, $45 for children and $164 for two adults and two children. One-hour tours start at 10.15am each day. Bookings are essential.
Air New Zealand has flights to Dunedin.
One-way fares from:
- Brisbane $249
- Sydney, Melbourne $324
- Adelaide $430
- Perth $625
Sale and validity dates apply.
Prices correct at March 25, 2010.
For further information
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476
Nature's Wonders Naturally
Ph: +64 3 478 1150
Fax: +64 3 478 0714
Visas: Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter New Zealand.
Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using the same plugs as in Australia.
Time zone: GMT +12.
Currency: The New Zealand dollar.
Telephone code: +64.
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