Kiwi Sighting Near Eketahuna

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
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Trip End Aug 21, 2011


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Where I stayed
Eketahuna Camping Ground

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, June 3, 2011

We could not face messing around with the camp cooker this morning so we packed up (in silence, I think we are both pretty tired) and left the campsite, waved off by the lovely Colin. We opted for Featherston's finest café/bakery, 'Gusto’.  It was a good call, the date scone was so big even Polly could not finish it.  There was a very sweet moment when Frank, clearly a daily customer, was served his breakfast.  The café lady bought out Franks’s favourite, two slices of buttered white bread with a banana, peeled and chopped up.  Just how Frank likes it!  The lovely lady then gave Robin, another regular, a real telling off for spilling his pot of tea as he made his way back from the counter.

Satisfied that we had a real taste of morning life in Featherston we set off for the day.  It was a very mundane ride.  The weather was grey and the Highway 2 did not inspire.  The head wind made things really tough and when we came to rest for lunch we were both feeling a little fed up with cycling.  The sign for ‘Mauriceville’ was the first photo of the day, perhaps a sign of how the North so far has not been as dramatic as NZ South island.

After lunch we were desperate to get to The National Wildlife Centre but the 15 miles passed by very slowly.  I cannot remember feeling so tired on the bike.  My legs were empty, possibly feeling the effects of the climb yesterday afternoon, but definitely reacting to 30 miles this morning into a head wind.

We did make it to the wildlife centre and just in time for the 3pm feeding of the very entertaining Kaka bird, a protected parrot that is being reintroduced to North Islands bush.  Add to that a close up encounter with a Kiwi and some other great bird sightings and we had a very good hour.  The Kiwi was hilarious, the description of the most ‘un-bird like bird’ was spot on.  The usually nocturnal bird bumbled around in the dimly lit arena and even came up to the screen to check us out.  It was much bigger than we had anticipated and unlike any bird I have seen before – more like a furry bowling ball rolling around.

Thankfully the last 7 miles from the wildlife centre to Eketahuna were relatively easy.  A stop at the supermarket introduced us to some more friendly locals and then it was off to find the local campsite.  After an unsuccessful quest to find the keyholder to open up a comfortable looking cabin we pitched the tent and cooked up dinner in the kitchen.  We then moved the tent because some local kids have turned up to have a party in the cabin.  2 long days to Napier ahead of us I think, nowhere en-route is in the guidebook so we will cross our fingers and see where we end up tomorrow.

Miles Cycled:  49 miles and they all hurt, slightly uphill and all of them into a headwind
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