So Long, New Zealand!

We ended our stay in New Zealand with a great trip to a small island on the east coast of the North Island, Tiritiri Matangi, and then a final day exploring Auckland. Both days were “heaps of fun,” as they say in New Zealand, and a great way to conclude our stay in this country.

Tiritiri 291 Tiritiri Matangi is a wildlife sanctuary reachable by ferry. The day got off with a bang when we saw one of our favorite birds, a Sacred Kingfisher, eating one of our favorite animals, a lizard (a Copper Skink). Ymmm! All fall, we’ve been trying to find a way to balance nature hikes focused on seeing birds (relatively easy to set up) with nature hikes focused on reptiles and amphibians (harder), and finally came up with the perfect solution!

Tiritiri 344 The island is a gorgeous spot, and we had a terrific time hiking around it. We were accompanied by one of the volunteer naturalists (Spencer) who was very knowledgeable and made the exploration quite educational. There are some great birds there that we missed on this trip (including the Takahe and the Kokapo), but we did spot a Morepork (a type of New Zealand owl) and its baby, which was unusual.

Auckland 223 While in the Auckland area, we focused on getting packed for our return to North America, but found time to visit an aquarium and the Auckland Museum. Like zoos, I’m not sure we’ll ever generate as much enthusiasm for aquariums as we did before our trip. There was an Antarctica exhibit, though, which was quite interesting. And at the Auckland Museum, there was an excellent exhibit on Charles Darwin, which we all found fascinating. Since we plan on being in the Galapagos and Antarctica after the turn of the year, it was a great way to end our stay in Asia and Oceania, and get ready for South America and Antarctica!

There was something very unusual for us on our last day of this part of our trip — rain. We realized that, somewhat incredibly, we haven’t had a real day of rain in three and one-half months. The rain had no impact on our schedule, since we were packing and checking out some museums. But it was probably good preparation for December in Seattle :-( .

Originally, we were planning to spend time in Fiji after New Zealand. It’s awfully hard to pass by Fiji, but that’s what we decided to do. It was going to take us the better part of a day to get there, we’d have three days there on the beach, and then three different flight legs to get to Seattle. When we weighed the appeal of three days on the beach versus the complications in travel logistics, we decided to save Fiji for another time, and hopped on a direct flight from Auckland to Vancouver, British Columbia, where the kids are going skiing and building snow forts, and Elizabeth and I are getting organized for Christmas.

Feel free to check out our Tiritiri Matangi photos.

One Response to “So Long, New Zealand!”

  1. Judy McKenzie Says:

    Dear Elizabeth, Teb, Sterling & Gibson

    Loved looking through the photos and so thrilled you enjoyed Tiritiri Matangi. Seeing the baby Morepork fantastic.
    Our weather has turned and been raining heavily which has been great for the garden but not so good for the walkers on the Milford.
    Have a wonderful time skiing. Take care and all the best for the rest of your travels.

    Happy Xmas Love Judy

Leave a Reply