We were driving around the coast South of Wellington last week, looking for a restaurant called ‘The Bach Café’ that a friend recommended when we noticed signs posted telling drivers to slow down for penguins.
I hadn’t realized there were penguins on the North Island! Unfortunately we found The Bach but it was closing as we pulled in so we went penguin hunting instead. An awesome drive around the coast but no luck on the penguins. At lunch the next day I told my colleagues about our quest and they laughed and called me a crazy (American) tourist and said that they had lived in Wellington for years and had never seen a penguin. But, one of our colleagues said she sees them very often and you just have to know where to look. She suggested we try the Miramar peninsula.
So of course that evening we were off again in our search. The penguins we were searching for are Little Blue penguins and the Miramar Peninsula is one of the few places where they live close to people. Apparently they are a bit noisy and have smelly nests and like to mate underneath people’s houses so they aren’t all that welcome.
But we had no luck again. I think it will be my personal mission now to find a penguin on the North Island but we’re off to the South Island over Christmas and there are penguin tours in Dunedin so we’ll try there too.