Penguins > Milford Sound?

After several awesome days in Queenstown hiking around in the snow (and one winery visit to keep our spirits up)...

...while waiting for the high pass into Milford Sound to be reopened, we finally had to let the dream of going to Mildford Sound go. The weather was telling us no and it was our job to listen to her and recognize the restraints of a huge campervan in remote mountain passes.

So off we headed to the Catlins.

We hadn't planned on going but it had to have been the right choice as we were greeted with beautiful weather and delightful scenes. Our guidebook, Scott Cook's Frenzy, raved about Curio Bay, so much so that we detoured to visit. Along the way we stopped for photos like these:

We then waited 3 hours with these views...

...in almost freezing temperatures to see a penguin. Just as we were calling it quits to go find a camping spot at 8p, out came the cutest (and first!) wild penguin I've ever scene. We rushed to the beach to get closer and I died a little inside as it hopped it's way to its den. I still smile remembering it's little moves. Here are so very dark photos of our encounter.

The next day was gorgeous again and we took our time driving up the coast, stopping for photos and coffees along the way.
 

After seeing penguins again at the Lighthouse (this time from too far away to photograph without a telephoto), our final stop for the night ended up being in a small, tiny town's Town Hall deserted parking lot.  Perfect freedom camping!

We awoke to film these little guys on their way to be milked.

Our drive continued up gorgeous coastline, perfect to pull over to work on a crossword and enjoy more coffee. We finally reached Dunedin to explore. See our next post for more on Dunedin!