May 24

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise, with a huge moon, pink skies and snow covered peaks (thankfully) in the distance. I was a bit miffed because the weather was so beautiful. I suppose we could’ve stay another day at Lake Tekapo and finally enjoyed some nice weather!

It worked out though because we had big plans! We woke up and headed to Waimate to enjoy overwhelming cuteness, in the form of wallabies. I’m not really sure how our trip became so centered on animals (from our many dog friends to hand feeding stingrays), but we decided to embrace it and go cuddle some wallabies.

The wallaby farm (home? reserve?) is called Enkledoovery Korna. I was so overexcited by the adorableness that I forgot to ask what the name means. The woman, Gwen, who runs the farm is an absolute character; Liffy would say she is a dag, which in Kiwi slang means she is a hoot. (Conversely, Zhoel enlightened me that dags are literally the poop-crusted wool around sheep bums.) Gwen raises orphan wallaby babies that are brought to her by hunters. Wallabies are an invasive species brought from Australia. Since they are a pest, they are hunted heavily. It is a jail-able offense to take them outside of the region that they have already settled. Gwen is required to have a license to keep her farm. She taught us how to feed the wallabies and set us loose on the farm. We had a wonderful time!

We fed, talked to, cuddled and scratched the bottoms (apparently you’re only supposed to pat them right where their tail meets their back) of heaps of wallabies. Some were “gutses” and others were quite skittish. There were also peacocks, geese and tons of other animals. It was a very cool experience!

Since we had to go back to Moeraki to pick up a few things from Dan’s place, we decided to try the Moeraki Lighthouse again, hopefully without hail this time. The wind was brutal and the waves we massive. We saw tons of seals! However, the most amazing thing we saw was a yellow eyed penguin.

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They are endangered, but the lighthouse is one place where the live. At dusk, you can see them walk up the beach into the flax thickets. We only saw one before the wind chased us away, but it was amazing. I (like nearly everyone else) has seen March of the Penguins and talked about how funny they are. Seeing a penguin in real life is completely different. They waddle around like little old men with canes and they look so incredible serious.

Seeing that penguin was one of my most memorable experiences in NZ yet. I felt so privileged to see even one.

We spend the night at Dan’s house again and had an excellent visit with Dan and his roommates, Catherine and Taryn. We made dinner and sat around chatting about travel plans for hours. It is always interesting to hear how other people spend their working holidays. We feel really fortunate getting to know them a bit and, of course, getting to spend time with Dan.

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