Wellington—Red Rocks

These are photos taken at Red Rocks, Wellington. Red Rocks is on the south coast of Wellington, facing across Cook Straight and into the South Island. It's a geologically interesting area and abandoned quarry that gets its name from the red pillow lava that can be seen in places; what attracts most visitors, though, is the seal colony.

The seal colony is a bachelor colony; the New Zealand fur seals here are males who lose fights for territory in the breeding colonies at the top of the South Island. Since it's a male-only colony it's significantly safer than a breeding colony, as the seals are much less aggresively territorial, and you're unlikely to stumble upon a pup by mistake.

DOC prefer people stay a decent distance away from the seals in order to avoid upsetting them; stress is bad for the seals, but they are dangerous. An adult male outweighs most humans, and can lunge across rocks surprisingly quickly if it feels threatened; they will display their teeth and bark to warn off anyone who gets too close.

Fooling around the scree

The other reason people come to Red Rocks.

Fur seal on rock

Fur seal on rock.

Loving the camera...

Mugging for the camera…

Fur seal looking down its nose

…and dismissing it.

Rough seas in the background

Rough seas in the background.

Fur seal relaxing

Fur seal relaxing.

Fur seal relaxing

Fur seal relaxing.
Despite appearances to the contrary,
they are not related to house cats.

Fur seal strutting

Fur seal strutting his stuff.

Fur seal barking

Fur seal barking.