A Travellerspoint blog

Saturday in Omaru

Our bus was at 7:45 on Saturday so Liz, Marybeth and I met on Castle Street at around 7. We boarded the bus and all fell fast asleep until our bus stop in Omaru an hour and a half later. When we got off the bus, I was introduced to our three other travelling companions: Casey, Emmi, and Lauren. They were all really nice and Casey even goes to GWU! We went to the Red Kettle Hostel to check in and then began our Omaru adventure in the Botanical Gardens. All of the flowers were absolutely beautiful and the rivers and the bridges just added final touches. Through the Botanical Gardens, we found a playground and, of course, we had to stop and play for a while. We took pictures next to Humpty Dumpty and on the tire swing. After a while, we found the Hostpial Hill Walkway and took that trail to the top of Omaru. The view from the top was pretty cool but we were unable to see the water so we hiked over to the Glen Gully Walkway and tried to take that to the top. Unfortunately, due to deforestation, we couldn't go any further and had to turn around and walk back down the roads. We walked into town and got lunch at a cute little bakery. We took our lunch to the old railway station and ate by the water. After lunch, we walked to the Whitestone Cheese Shop which is famous in NZ for having the best cheese and winning many awards. They even had their pictures taken and autographs from the full cast of Scrubs! It was nice to see that they had a little message written on their blackboard to try and raise money for ChCh. That always makes us feel better. It started to rain by the time we left so we ran to the historic district and started exploring the Forrester and Grainhill Galleries. Some of the art was unbelievable and thankfully by the time we left the rain had started to slow. While in the historic district we also saw the old water wheel which apparently is a big deal in Omaru! By this time, it was about 3:00 and we started to hike our way across town to see the yellow penguins. We ended up trying to take a trail down by the water but unfortunately it was closed due to high tide. We saw the "Penguin Crossing" sign and obviously had to take pictures before climbing up the hills and taking a different route to the yellow penguins. It took us about 50 minutes to walk up the steep hills of Omaru but when we made it, the beach looked beautiful from above. We went into a little nook on the side of the mountain and waited to see if any penguins came out. A man was standing there and he let us borrow his binoculars to see the yellow penguins and the sea lions that were waiting ashore. Although we were far away and unable to get any close, it was really cool! About twenty minutes later, we hiked back into town (after stopping at the scenic lookout along the way) and had dinner a pub. We had planned on sitting in the restaurant but since we were not dressed "appropriately" we sat in the front area at the bar. The six girls sat and talked for a while before we went to our 8:15 showing of the blue penguins. We had bought tickets earlier in the day and they said that we would probably see close to 75 penguins! We sat and watched intently as we saw the tiny blue penguins, between 25-35cm high and weighing only about 1kg, tumble in from the water and make their way in groups up the rocks to their nests. The guide told us that penguins only see a couple of minutes every couple of hours so they would be up most of the night making noises (which were honestly very strange noises). While walking back to our hostel after the showing, we ran into about three blue penguins on the side of the road. They were absolutely adorable and the guide had said that they like to wonder around during the night. When we walked back to the Red Kettle, we all changed into pajamas and went into the living room to catch the end of a movie the others were watching. Our room had been joined by another girl but all four of us fell asleep before we even got to know her name.

Posted by topspin98 15:22

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