Seal pup

Ohau Stream Waterfall pool is baby seal daycare!

In which Miles returns to the Ohau Stream Waterfall to find a baby seal playground.

You can view the full gallery of 24 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

I found the Ohau Stream Waterfall to be a magical place when I visited in February.

Ohau Stream Waterfall
Ohau Stream Waterfall in February

But everyone visits this place for the seal pups.  The baby seals spend their days playing in the pool while their mothers are out fishing in the Pacific Ocean.  There were none in the stream or pool in February, but they were there in force when I returned in mid-April.

The video below best captures the experience of watching the pool full of jumping splashing playing baby seals.

The waterfall is quite shaded and dark, so I had to shoot on the highest ISO available.  The best still shots of the playground didn’t turn out nearly as well as the video.

Ohau Stream Waterfall Pool
Ohau Stream Waterfall Pool

I do like some of the pictures of individuals and small groups though.

Seal pups in the Ohau Stream Waterfall Pool
Seal pups in the Ohau Stream Waterfall Pool

I sat on a large rock at the very edge of the pool.  The more curious pups would swim up to investigate, and say hello.

Curious seal pup
Curious seal pup
Curious seal pup
Curious seal pup

I enjoyed the personality of this little guy. He sat on a rock at the edge of the pool with his head pointed straight up in the air, always looking like he was about to fall asleep.

Seal pup
Seal pup
Seal pup
Seal pup

When other pups came close he would watch them. If they tried to spar with him, he would spar back. But he never left that rock. I never saw him go for a swim in the pool.

Seal pups
Seal pups
Seal pups
Seal pups

These playful pups were everywhere along the stream, coming and going from the pool.  They showed no fear of humans.  There were also a few seals that were definitely larger and older, but still smaller than adults, like big sisters there to watch the little ones.  Some larger seals also slept among the trees and bushes along the path.  They would snort if any humans got too close.

Seal pup
Seal pup

Every now and then every little seal in the pool would suddenly rush at top speed for the edge of the pool.  It was like someone had issued a predator alert for practice (“shark!” “orca!”).  I thought it was time to go back to the ocean, but they always returned gradually to playing in the pool.  I was really sorry that I wasn’t able to capture one of these moments on video.

Seal pups at the edge of the pool
Seal pups at the edge of the pool

I don’t believe I’ve described any other place as magical.  I found it that without the little seals, and it was definitely that with them.  This is one of the most amazing places in New Zealand, and I was really glad to have returned again on my way north.  I came back again a couple of days later to spend a bit more time at Ohau Stream Waterfall.

You can view the full gallery of 24 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

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