Adventuring in New Zealand- part the 14th
So in all of my excitement yesterday about the glacier, I forgot to tell you about the baby kiwis I saw at the West Coast Wildlife Centre. Yay!
But wait, you say, aren’t all New Zealanders kiwis? Yes they are. But that name comes from the native flightless bird that looks like a cartoon. They are also nocturnal and SUPER endangered because animals such as stotes like to eat the eggs and cats like to eat the chicks. The type of kiwi I saw was a Rowi. There are fewer than 400 alive. And I saw two of them.
The wildlife centre monitors the birds so that when they lay an egg, the scientists retrieve it, raise it at a pest-free bird sanctuary, and then release it back into the wild once it is large enough to defend itself. They are nocturnal, so I couldn’t take any photos, but they were fun to watch and really cute.
I was really lucky to take my glacier tour yesterday because they weren’t running today. The predicted rain didn’t start until just before I got on the bus, but the clouds were an interesting shift in the landscape.
Today’s bus only took 6 hours. But they were 6 long, windy hours. When I could look out the window, the scenery was lovely, if a little muted by the fogged windows.
Even through the foggy window of a moving bus, they looked majestic.
Towards the end, the mountains got even more dramatic:
We made it to Queenstown in the dark and rain around 7PM. While walking around, I realised I was glad I’m not spending any real time here – it’s super expensive and feel is like Disney Land without the princesses. It does have one major thing to recommend it – there was a chemist (unlike Franz Josef) and it was still open when I arrived (unlike Nelson). Tomorrow’s ride promises to be even better scenery with even curvier roads, and now that I have Dramamine (or the New Zealand off brand) I’m ready for it. This also marks the 5th country in which I have purchased motion sickness medication- previous purchases were in the US, Mexico, UAE, and Australia.
As a side note, I’m off the Milford Sound tomorrow for two nights. I don’t know what the Internet connection will be like, so if you don’t hear from me, don’t start worrying until Monday night. 🙂