Many beaches along New Zealand’s southeast coast are known habitats for rare varieties of penguins, but after several unsuccessful viewing attempts we were beginning to think it was just a hoax to keep the tourists occupied. It became clear that we would need to step up our efforts and stage a stakeout.
Yesterday at dusk we headed for the far end of a long, windswept beach, and sat out of sight among some dune grass. Eventually, two tiny penguins emerged from the surf and waddled up the beach one by one, no more than knee height. Slowly shuffling across the beach to their nests, they looked remarkably like the unsteady drunk students wandering Dunedin the night before after the All Blacks Rugby World Cup victory.