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Sandfly Bay Wildlife Refuge home to New Zealand Sea Lions and Yellow-Eyed Penguins

The stunning Otago Peninsula is hilly with very few settlements. Sandfly Bay Wildlife Refuge is at the end of Seal Point Road on the south side of the peninsula. At the east end of the beach is home to a colony of Yellow-Eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes). These penguins have a conservation status of endangered; International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List refers. On the afternoon I visited, it was very windy, roaring forties I guess, no exaggeration, not good for photography with sand flying everywhere. It was a difficult a trek in the wind down the sand dunes and then to the far end of the beach. There were both male and female New Zealand or Hooker's Sea Lions (Phocarctos hookeri) hauled out on the beach. Despite the wind it’s an amazing place and worth visiting for the wildlife.

Other photo opportunities included Red-billed Gulls (Chroicocephalus scopulinus) and Variable Oystercatchers (Haematopus unicolor). At the east end of the beach there is a viewing hide, which overlooks the penguin colony. At 4:20 pm I spotted a single Yellowed-Eyed Penguin below the rock face.