Our mate in in the photo is a rare yellow eyed penguin, presumably hoping to avoid being eaten by one of the seals around the corner or a dog. He seemed somewhat dejected, I on the other hand was delighted to see him and his seal mates at Shag Point, a location obviously named by a settler with little or no imagination, the place is full of shags, seals, penguins and shear-waters (I read the sign).
If you make the run to the South from Christhurch choose the Inland Scenic Route out of town (route 77 and/or 72) rather than route 1 which is flat, straight and busy. There are to my knowledge no redeeming features to route 1. You get lumbered with the bum route south of Geraldine but no point in being a martyr.
The forecast is for rain tomorrow although much of the way there was a low overcast and it looked like it was about to rain any moment. All it did was to get colder with lower cloud on the mountains to the west. Decision easily made to stay on the east coast, nearer to motels should the heavens open.
Lunch in Timaru (at the same spot as last year) was pretty reasonable and tooled on to Omaru. Timaru to the European eye seems to have made something of an effort with nice eateries at the top end of the street with a view over the harbour. Omaru on the other hand is my idea of a time warp back to how towns in NZ might have looked here in the 1950's.
Once past the rows of bungalows Omaru's main street is 50% Greek Classical (columns and so forth), 50% Victorian and 50% odds and sods. To todays taste what's really sad is that one road over is the sea, what would be the Esplanade elsewhere, but here it's a row of derelict factories and waste ground. If there really is a penguin colony there they are welcome to it.
The road perks up a lot past Omaru (as did I) and the Moeraki Boulders are well worth a look. This is a curious rock formation a few metres from a car park. When I called the rocks were mostly under the high tide. You may have better luck.
Despite a late(ish) start I got to Dunedin about 5:30pm. It's plainly a student city, more so even than Wellington, with endless run down student rental houses, cheap eateries and broken bottles all over the streets. Not a very nice look. It'll be interesting to see it in daylight.
There is a huge choice of motels here so it's back to a the Bella Vista where hopefully it will be quieter than it's northern counterpart. I can definately recommend the Reef seafood resturant on town.