Hunting for Kiwi's and the legend that is Kai Kart
Trip Start Jul 10, 2008
83Trip End Jul 10, 2011
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The crossing certainly felt a little rough and there were a lot of people spewing, but our captain, who gave some great commentary, seemed to take great joy it telling us this was one of the better days.
We missed many of the sea birds that were mentioned as we crossed, for one it was far too rough to go and stand out back or to even stand up and the waves made it hard to see very far past the boat from our lowly seating position! By the time we got into Half Moon Bay and close to the township of Oban things had calmed down and we could see what a great place we were arriving at. Along with the name we could very well be arriving at a small little Scottish fishing town!
We were booked into one of the South Sea Hotel cottages. A little dated but clean with shared bathrooms. We started our morning with tea and muffins in the hotel followed by a trip to a legendary chipper, a small diner style set up called Kai Kart. The blue cod and chips certainly met expectations.
We spend the afternoon walking around to Acker's Point Lighthouse. I think about 2km away. Around the road and the coast to start with and then through a wooded path with glimpses out over the ocean. Quite a few views of Albatross following the fishing boats out to sea. We also got some great views of Tui, Kereru, Silvereye and our first Rifleman (New Zealand’s smallest bird) along the way. At the end there were some nice view over the cliffs where we could look down and see New Zealand Fur seals.
That evening we got a few pints at the South Sea Hotel and got our din dins. We had a great seafood chouder for starters. The seafood platter was the main for me – crayfish, monkfish, scallops, shrimp and salmon! It was not the best seafood platter I’ve had but it was decent. There were a lot of people complaining in the restaurant as there were longish waits. We didn’t really care too much but managed to snag some free drinks as the waitress came over and apologised for the wait.
At 9pm we wandered over to the dock a, little tipsy, for our trip out to spot a kiwi in the wild! A little pricey at $130 each for the 15 people on the tour. The company was sure going to make a bob or two, I'll let you do the maths! We had a 35 minute boat trip to get to somewhere over the far side of the Paterson Inlet. From here we had a 20 minute tramp across an isthmus to another bay where the kiwi’s came to eat shrimp they found on the seaweed every night. There was a chance to see them in the woods, but no luck for us. The company had seen them every night for the last 2 years though and we were as lucky as the previous groups and got to see a couple when we walked up the beach. The viewing experience was great, we had a good 30 minutes when everyone stood and watched him feed. He got within 3m of us at one point! It was quite a bit bigger and chunkier than I imagined, in particular it’s legs looked like they were packed with some serious muscle. A very strange looking bird, it’s feathers didn’t really look like feathers and it’s wings although there were not visible.
I had been worried we were spending our money to go on a bit of a Muppet tour, but in the end I really enjoyed the whole experience and were happy we did the tour. It was 1am by the time we got back and crashed.