Fur Seals at Shag Point

New Zealand Fur Seal at Shag Point

Posing for the camera

While on our tour around the South Island last year we took a detour off State highway 1 to visit  Shag Point, which is approximately halfway between Dunedin and Oamaru.  Its original claim to fame was the coal mining that took place there in the 1800’s with the mine shafts being dug kilometres out below the seabed. Nowadays it is a small community of cribs or holiday houses along the coastline and a nature reserve at the end of the road

I think that it should be called Seal Point instead, as there was a large number of Fur Seals present and very few shags.

Most of the seals were doing the usually seal thing of being big fat slugs basking on rocks, though the one photographed above had just had a very playful swim and on emerging from the water proceeded to pull all its best camera poses for me. After 10 or so minutes of keeping the photographer happy it let me know in no uncertain terms, with a lightning fast fake charge, that enough was enough and it was time for it to join the other fat slugs in piece and quiet.

Be aware that even though they may look like big fat slugs most of the time they can move very quickly when they want to and I am glad that I had kept my distance and used a long lens to photograph with.

Other wildlife that may be encountered at Shag Point are the very rare  Yellow Eyed Penguins, with the best time to observe them being in the evening as they come ashore and return to their nests after a day at sea feeding.

If the rare Yellow Eyed penguins are on your list of must see, I would recommend that you visit the hide, down hill from the lighthouse at Katiki Point Moeraki, some 11.5kms further north .

More photos of New Zealand Fur Seals can be found here

Seals basking on rocks at Shag Point

New Zealand Fur Seals bask on rocks at Shag Point.

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