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Very Few Penguins In Once Super Rich Oamaru

New kind of road signs - Penguins Crossing, South Island, New Zealand

New kind of road signs – Penguins Crossing, South Island, New Zealand

Near Oamaru, we stopped at some clay cliffs, since they were mentioned in the Lonely Planet. Those were some impressive rocks formations, even though they surely would have gone unnoticed in southern Bolivia! The heydays of Oamaru were in the late 19th century, when gold was found in Otago. No money was spared to express that wealth. Today, some majestic buildings in the centre made of limestone bear witness of those golden times. Some buildings rather resemble Greek temples, which actually are now ordinary banks.

Oamaru also hosts a small penguin colony, where the smallest kind of these loveable creatures can be seen, the Blue Penguin. Unfortunately, we could not resist the skilful advertising and joined the crowds to see this rather unspectacular event, a small number sliding and scuttling ashore, back to their shelter, after a day of feeding out in the ocean.

Yes, they are cute creatures with only 25 centimetres tall and weighing about one kilogram, but the commotion around it seemed so ridiculous to us, after we had been strolling through a penguin reserve in Peninsula Valdez in Argentina, with hundreds of thousands of them.

These two comparisons are a fair reflection of our present attitude, we feel tourists here are over-guided, travelling is over-organised and sights over-advertised and thus we often long for those days in Latin America where often every minute brought along something exciting and new.

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