New Zealand fur seals are really cute. They’re small and brown with pointy noses and long whiskers. They also have an uncanny ability to look dead when they’re just resting.
You can find them in abundance all around New Zealand, wherever there happens to be a rocky shore. You can get right up close to them too, like I did on the Otago Peninsula.
I was twelve years old when we went there on our South Island campervan holiday. The Otago Peninsula is absolutely wonderful for observing wildlife in a dramatic setting.
Not only did we see plenty of fur seals, we saw snowy white, fluffy albatross chicks being nurtured by their parents in the world’s only mainland royal albatross colony.
I loved getting close to the seals. (If I look miserable standing next to my little sister in that photo, it’s because it was quite a cold day.) I was wary about getting too close in case it made the seals uncomfortable, but they didn’t seem to mind. They must be well used to tourists.
Other popular places to see New Zealand fur seals are around Wellington, Kaikoura and the Catlins. Supposedly the best, or at least the most accessible, place to see them is Ohau Point, just off State Highway 1 between Kaikoura and Picton, which is perfect if you’re doing a self-drive tour of New Zealand. And if you do the Ohau Waterfall Walk – a few minutes along a picturesque boardwalk – you might be lucky enough to see seal pups swimming up the creek and playing around the waterfall.
Now that would be amazing.