A perfect day, the sun was shining, the temperature soared, and now that I no longer work on Saturdays I really appreciate this day with my family. Today Simon flicked through our Daywalks of Dunedin book and picked Victory Beach, at the end of the Okia Reserve just over the hill from Portobello. It was the most beautiful walk, we spent around 4 hours walking in and out, and up and down the beach, quite stunning, with hardly anyone around and awe-inspiring landscapes. At the start is the most classic New Zealand farming views, with bright green rolling hills covered in baby lambs, small swamps, and Flax bushes. Then you travel through the Okia Reserve, which was once grazing land and is now being slowly returned to native forest. There is a cover of native Bracken dotted with Flax and Cabbage Trees, which will help native seedlings to grow under the cover they provide, and eventually return it to it’s original state. Once you have passed through there you hit Victory Beach, so named as a Steamboat called SS Victory ran aground there when the Captain and First Mate left a drunken crew member in charge of steering – well, at least that’s the story. It is a haven for Elephant Seals, and Yellow Eyed Penguins, of which we could see footprints in the sand throughout the dunes. We now have plans to return there once the summer school holidays start to watch the Pengins come ashore in the evening.
I love being back in New Zealand, and it’s days like this that leave me in no doubt as to why Dunedin is just the most wonderful place to live. I feel like I did as a child having spent the day doing beachy stuff, tired, drained, prickly from a little too much sun, and so very happy.