If you ever find yourself in Dunedin with a car and a few hours of free time, consider driving down to Moeraki to climb on famous boulders, dine at Fleur’s Place, and closely observe yellow-eyed penguins at Katiki Point.

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Take a roadside break and purchase some paua shells. Notice how the owners simply left the shells out alone. Unguarded. Unprotected. I get the sense that Kiwis are much more trusting than Americans.

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The boulders were formed from the erosion of mudstone and are explained in Maori legend as baskets washed ashore from the wreck of a large canoe.

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The boulders provide hours of entertainment and are a source of magic – they can be whatever you want them to be: a cracking velociraptor egg, a spherical trampoline, a genie lamp….

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When you’ve sufficiently tired yourself with various boulder-related shenanigans, grab dinner at the small, nondescript and seaside restaurant, Fleur’s Place.

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They have some of the finest seafood I’ve ever eaten (and this is coming from an ocean-side dweller raised on fresh salmon, oysters, and shrimp).

I recommend the blue cod with curry sauce. Fish of the day. Freshly caught. I ate myself into a food coma.

I recommend the blue cod with curry sauce. Fish of the day. Freshly caught. I ate myself into a food coma.

art in a cup

art in a cup

And then off to Katiki Point where you can get up close and personal with yellow-eyed penguins. You might also be lucky enough to see rabbits, rare little blue penguins living in the rabbit holes, and, uh, some rather larger creatures.

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When you approach the penguins, be quiet and make no sudden movements. Our friend Will referred to the birds as

“delicate wee souls.”

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Yeah, that’s a sea lion. Yeah, he smiled at me. Or maybe yawn-growled. I couldn’t quite tell.

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