North Island is well known to cruisers -- its popular Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf on everyones itineraries. South Island, on the other hand, is generally avoided by yachties due to its reputation for being too cold and too windy. This is a pity, as some fabulous cruising and unique wildlife can be found there. Dunedin has the most accessible breeding albatross colony in the world. Huge Royal albatross with wingspans measuring nearly more than three meters (about 9 feet) nest in areas that are within minutes of the city. At Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, we swam with Hectors dolphin, one of the worlds rarest cetaceans. Stewart Island, off the islands southern tip, gives visiting cruisers a wonderful opportunity to see New Zealands national symbol, the kiwi bird, in its natural habitat. The normally nocturnal kiwi feels so secure here it can even be seen in the daytime! With its long, sword-like bill, it probes the forest litter and the seashore kelp for grubs and that enemy of all beach-lovers the sand fly. As a national symbol its certainly memorable, a plump little fellow with high, rounded rump, coarse, hair-like feathers, and no wings at all. Few New Zealanders have actually ever seen one in the wild.