New Zealand Adventuring – Part the Second

Auckland so far has been a series of slight disappointments. My bag was the last one out at the airport. The hotel last night took over half an hour to pick me up. The hotel was pretty gross and my door had a foot sized hole in it. The guy in the next room coughed all night, so I didn’t sleep. The taxi I ordered at 6:30 didn’t show up at 7:30 (they lost my reservation completely). When a taxi finally showed up the driver didn’t have change and didn’t take cards, so I ended up overpaying by $9 or risk missing my boat. The guy selling ferry tickets took my coupon and didn’t put in the discount. Etc. 

But I made my boat and had a fantastic (if sleep deprived) day at Tiritiri Matangi Island. It was an hour and a half long ferry ride from Auckland, with lovely views the whole way, starting with the skyline. 

 

The island is one of many near Auckland. What makes it special is that it was farmed for 120 years – until the 1970s. Then in the mid 80s a bunch of scientists got drunk (ok, I’m making that part up, but we all know scientists have their best ideas in the shower or the pub) and decided to reforest the island, make it pest free (no mammals), and reintroduce native bird species. 

  

As you can see, the reforestation worked! (Actually this tree is one of the few to survive the farming era, but now 60% of the island is hand planted.)

The re-birding worked too! On a 3 hour guided walk led by a volunteer, we saw several native species including the tīeke/saddleback, hihi/stitchbird, toutouwai (a robin), the kokako (which is a super rare bird to see) and the takahe (a flightless bird thought to have gone extinct in 1898, but was rediscovered in 1948).

The tui agreed to pose for a picture:

  

 Living in Australia has spoiled me for birds, but it was awesome to see how successful a few committed scientists (and their grad students) have been in 30 years. All in all it was a really great time. But 3:30 rolled around and I had to get back on the (once daily) ferry. 

  

After a windy ride back to Auckland, I grabbed my suitcase, which had been stored at the visitor centre on the island, and walked over to my hostel. After a slight confusion with the elevator, I got to my room only to find my bed was taken. Oh, Auckland, I missed you! I got the guy at reception to put me in another room rather than wait for him to sort it out. So now I have a bed to sleep in, a door with no hole, and I am out on the town Easter Sunday style. I’m washing away the non-fun parts of the day at a Belgian pub on Vulcan Lane with a beer and the house speciality: locally sourced New Zealand green-lipped mussels steamed in lobster and brandy bisque. Auckland, I forgive you. 

  

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~ by Genevieve on April 5, 2015.

2 Responses to “New Zealand Adventuring – Part the Second”

  1. Want: mussels steamed in lobster and brandy bisque

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