/ / The Harbour Of Otago

The Harbour Of Otago

Otago harbour is the natural harbour on the Southeast coast of the South island (parts of the South island and the Otago Peninsula). The harbour and surrounding picturesque hills formed millions of years ago from the remains of a huge shield volcano, the centre of which, presumably, was located near port Chalmers (the modern suburb of Dunedin and its main port).

When Europeans first came to the shores of the Otago harbour, is not known, although most likely it was James cook, the ship which was at anchor here from February 25 to March 5, 1770. In 1836, at the Northern tip of the Otago Peninsula from Cape Taiaroa appeared first whaling station, and in 40-ies of the 19th century was founded the city of Dunedin and port Chalmers.

In those days the harbour was only partially navigable, and that is why the port was built much higher located in the southern end of Dunedin in the West Bank almost opposite the harbour conventionally separating the two Islands, which began the muddy shallow water. However, the rapid growth and development of Dunedin, largely due to the so-called "gold rush Otago", forced the city authorities to search for an optimum way of ensuring the access of vessels to the wharves of Dunedin. So the decision was made on the construction of the canal along the North-Western side of the harbour. The channel, called the Victoria, was opened in December, 1881, although there were still narrow and not deep enough for the passage of large vessels, but with time, the thoroughly expanded and deepened, and Dunedin became one of the most important ports in New Zealand.

The harbour of Otago, along the same Peninsula is a Paradise for biologists. Here you can find a variety of animals and birds (including rare enough) - a great penguin, small penguin, new Zealand sea lion, new Zealand fur seal, dark Dolphin, Hector's Dolphin, the southern Atlantic right whale and Cape Taiaroa lives a colony of Northern Royal albatrosses - the world's only colony of these birds on the island (this part of the Cape is protected by the NZ Department of conservation as a national reserve, but available to visit).

Located on the Eastern shore of the harbour of Portobello is home to one of the leading research institutions of the Maritime New Zealand Marine laboratory, Portobello.