A penguin party took place high above the Tasman Sea late last week, when Pacific Blue began flying non-stop between Brisbane and Dunedin.
Pacific Blue’s sky high pengun party
Celebrating Dunedin’s unique wildlife, Pacific Blue’s inaugural flight on September 3 saw three human ‘penguins’ auction $2,000 worth of prizes.
Proceeds went to the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust, the Dunedin based charity charged with conserving arguably the world’s rarest penguin – the yellow eyed penguin.
During the flight guests raced chocolate Jaffas down the aisle of the Boeing 737-800 for charity in honour of Dunedin’s annual Jaffa race down the world’s steepest street (the real Jaffa race takes place each July as part of the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival).
Following an eventful flight, the aircraft was warmly welcomed into New Zealand by a flash mob of penguins at Dunedin airport.
Promoted through Facebook, the two best dressed ‘penguins’ in attendance won return flights for two on the inaugural Brisbane to Dunedin flight.
“The inaugural flight, like Dunedin itself, was fun and quirky,” said Tourism Dunedin CEO Hamish Saxton. “We are a lively city with a big heart and look forward to welcoming more Australians.
Minutes from Dunedin CBD is the Otago Peninsula, where visitors can get up close to the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Northern albatross, New Zealand fur seals, sea lions, fairy penguins, indigenous birdlife, hectors dolphins and the yellow eyed penguin.
“The yellow eyed penguin can only be seen on New Zealand’s lower south east coast and outer island,” Saxton said.
“There are an estimated 4,000 yellow eyed penguins left in the world and Dunedin is one of few places you can see the species in their natural environment without putting their safety at risk,” he said.
Virgin Blue Group CEO Brett Godfrey said the new route has shown a positive response in both sales and support by Aussies and Kiwis with the launch flights filled to capacity in both directions.
“Being the second-largest city in the South Island, this direct route provides a market opportunity to attract and satisfy both business and leisure guests and if our initial and forward bookings are anything to go by this service is already proving very popular with travellers,” Godfrey said.
Pacific Blue will operate the return Brisbane-Dunedin service three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.