New Zealand - great scenery blah blah....
Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
23Trip End May 2008
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Where I stayed
Had a quick stop off in a spot of drizzle to go "aahh" at a colony of NZ fur seals - quite a few pups and yes they were cute and funny.
Before leaving the North Island I took a trip to an island called Tiritiri Matangi which is home to some of the most endangered birds in NZ.A third of the world population of Takahe's live there and the photo is of one called Greg who greeted us upon landing . They make the most ridiculous sound , like a nasal moan completely inconsistent with their looks and size and it really made me giggle every time he uttered his call. I took a guided walk which was an absolute bargain and consequently saw far more bird life than I would have otherwise
Driving thru North Island particularly yesterday the scenery unfurled before me. It's reminiscent of Scotland, the Yorkshire moors, Lake District all rolled into one. In fact what it is, is a physical geography lesson in the flesh ; interlocking spurs, alluvial plains . y'know there are probably even terminal moraines somewhere altho they'll be at the glacier bit I expect! . Quite how they expect you to keep a half decent eye on the roads when stunning scenery is hurled at you around every corner I know not!.
Kaikoura is a beautiful place, "mountains meet the sea" and so much on offer on the wildlife front.
It's 16 April now and guess what I did this morning? I swam with wild dusky dolphins -how cool is that? Actually cool was the word in more senses than one as the water was only 16 degrees C -might sound warm but even in a wetsuit it was a bit of a shock for the first couple if mins til you got used to it. Then it was great and I spent my 2 or 3 forays into the water singing squeaking and generally making noises into the snorkel as it was our role as humans to entertain the dolphins (apparently) and it brings them over to you, and under you and shooting past you out of the gloom giving you a bit of a start- amazing
Well after the whalewatching what next? There's albatross to see and I'm advised in the backpackers I'm staying in that it's a better experience here than in Dunedin so may have stay another day! There's also the whale watching altho a girl did it yesterday and half the boat were throwing up! It was a litle lumpy going out this morning but I was equipped with my special ingredient- the Kaikoura cracker. Had this slightly surreal experience yesterday went in the chemist and said "sea sickness tablets?" Instead of being pointed to the relevant shelf the assistant pulled a little tub of pills out from under the counter (I thought ello -what's going on here?) and she said "these'll fix you" so armed with the Kaikoura cracker - 4 for $10, I took 2 this morning , and by jove!they were very effective -hurray to them whatever they were!
So may be here for another day or so then heading South towards the Otago Peninsular, dropping in at the Moraki boulders on the way. Had a long chat with a very nice guy (Ben from Auckland) yesterday about places to go and we peered at maps. I'd also had a interesting chat with an American guy called John, studying in Auckland, over breakfast that morning. John had the firmest handshake I've exoerienced in a long time
Took myself off for a 3 hour walk around the peninsular in Kaikoura yesterday and en route visited another seal colony and there was a large chap in the car park pretty unperturbed by people altho you are warned to keep away 10 metres away from them at this colony and generally 20 metres as thy can bite and will apparently if you disturb them and why wouldn't they?
The views on this walk were stunning (for a change) and the sky and the moutains provided an amazing backdrop during the walk as the weather changed about 3 times. I was walking about in shorts and tshirt and sandals and became a little chilly at one point but then the sun blasted thru the clouds and sun cream and my attire seemed more appropriate.
I'll get some photos up now stop wittering on.
Love n stuff
KiwiSal (look I've only just remembered to change the name)