A seal which found its way about 7km inland entertained rural property owners when it appeared in the Karamu Stream near Whakatu.
Department of Conservation officer Tom Barr said a farmer reported the animal in the stream near the Apollo packhouse and Ruahapia Rd yesterday morning.
Neighbouring land owners helped keep an eye on the unexpected visitor which was resting up in the middle of the steam between two bridges, occasionally diving to perform a handstand and grooming itself in the sun.
Mr Barr said the department always asked people not to interact with seals if seen on beaches and the same rules applied in this situation where the animal had taken a sightseeing trip inland.
"They do naturally wander and this one found his way up the river so we think he'll find his way back naturally. If he does start to cause some kind of risk to farm animals or the public then we'll look at intervening."
Mr Barr said it was not common but then not "completely out of the ordinary" for a seal to be spotted in a river as they often ventured into fresh water "where they find life a bit more easy going".
"Maybe he's got a taste for eels and decided to go further upstream and when he's finished or gets bored he'll just turn around and head back to the sea."By Lawrence Gullery