Party at Pacific Blue's inaugural flight
Thursday 3rd September, 2009A penguin party took place today when Pacific Blue began flying non-stop between Brisbane and Dunedin this morning.
Celebrating Dunedin's unique wildlife, Pacific Blue's inaugural flight saw three human penguins auction $2,000 worth of prizes. Proceeds will go 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 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. This year 30,000 Jaffas were raced, raising AU$75,000 towards Dunedin charities. On the inaugural flight each Jaffa raced represented a different charity. The winning charity, Children's Variety Club, will receive NZ$500 (AU$410) from Cadbury World who run daily tours of the chocolate factory.
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. Tourism Dunedin Chief Executive Hamish Saxton, said, "The inaugural flight, like Dunedin itself, was fun and quirky. We are a lively city with a big heart and look forward to welcoming more Australians".
Minutes from Dunedin CBD is the Otago Peninsula, the jewel in New Zealand eco-tourism. 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 be seen only on New Zealand's lower south east coast and outer islands. 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," says Saxton.
Any organisations or individuals that would like to support the Trust and get involved can contact the Trust directly on phone 03 479 0011. Click here to make a donation or become a supporter.