Friday, June 22, 2018

Tiritiri Matangi Island

By Jen.

As we were researching the North Island attractions, we discovered that it also has a bird-sanctuary island that is similar to Stewart Island’s Ulva Island. With a chance to see some birds I hadn’t seen yet as well as kiwi, Jonathan and I decided to head over and spend the night at the island’s well-equipped bunkhouse. We rode the ferry to the island and as we walked up the road to the visitor centre, we were greeted by many birds.

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Red-crested parakeets, actually in the sunlight so I could get a good photo.

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A whitehead, which I think is the more-common, North-Island relative of the yellowhead.

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A bellbird.

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A young takahe.

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From the visitor centre, you can see Rangitoto and Auckland, which we visited when we first arrived in New Zealand.

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A tui in bright sunlight!

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At the visitor centre, they had a display of the largest wetas and their feces! These ladies are at least 3 inches long!

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A tui in a beautiful, flowering native tree.

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The Little Barrier Island.

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The Great Barrier Island. These were named by Captain Cook, who didn’t have very much naming creativity.

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The day was pleasant and the island beautiful.

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A good close-up of a male saddleback!

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We even saw a kokako in the wild!

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Can you see it eating a leaf? That is what they eat, but it sure looks bizarre, doesn’t it?

That evening, we went searching for kiwi, but were unsuccessful. We did manage to startle a bird hiding in some flax on a cliff. It made very strange noises. We had no idea what it was at first, but after some research  we found out it was likely a grey-faced petrel.

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A North Island robin.

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An introduced quail.

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We actually saw the secretive fernbird. This little guy almost seemed like a mouse darting through the grass. We could only track its movements by watching how the grass moved as it passed under it!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K68Ep8wtUBI

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A stitchbird in the wild!

After we saw the weka carcasses in the visitor centre, we had been searching for some large wekas. Finally right before we were catching the ferry back to the van, someone spotted one and told us about it. Sadly, it was only a male, so not as big as it could be. But, it was still pretty cool.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Last of Coromandel

By Jen.

Following Hot Water Beach, we made a trip inland to see some old mining relics. This included a 500m-long tunnel and a water race in the Broken Hills area.

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The Broken Hills.

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The start of the Collins Drive tunnel.

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Glowworms.

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Jonathan decided to try the muddy path.

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After leaving the tunnel, we made our way to the water race. However, along the way, I dropped my phone. We both made our way back to the last point I had used it, and didn’t find it. Jonathan’s phone had reception, so we used “Where’s my phone” to activate ringing on the phone and started walking back to where I had discovered it missing. Eventually, Jonathan found it for me! I was NOT looking forward to replacing my phone if it had gotten lost forever in the gorge we were walking along.

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Parts of the race still hold water.

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Campsite for the night.

The next day brought us to Martha Mine, NZ’s richest gold and silver mine. It started as an elaborate system tunnels, but is now a 250m-deep open pit. However, poor terracing and landwork has resulted in landslides and unstable ground that have had the mine closed for the last two years.

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This Cornish pumphouse was built in 1903 to “dewater” the mine. In 2006, unstable ground forced them to either move it or lose it. So they moved this historic building 296m by pushing and pulling it along on top of teflon pads (the long tracks shown here).

The whole area once rang with the sound of pick axes and shovels, apparently. And with the sounds of the largest quartz-ore processing plant in Australasia is just down the road. Nothing but the foundations and some steel vats remain today.


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I did find 2 cats to cuddle with me for a bit until it started raining.

Then we went for a walk down Karangahake Gorge, which had some fun colors, but also boasted mining remnants.

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The abandoned ruins made you feel almost like you were in another ancient civilization’s ruins, instead of something only 100 years ago.

For our last foray into the peninsula, we decided to try the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail. Despite the name, there are few kauri along the trail. It is more a walk of the remnants of the logging industry that removed the kauri from the area. The walk followed a significant chunk of a walk we did way back in the beginning, but we handled much better this time after all the mountain training we did down south.

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In the months we had been gone, they had been working on some improvements to the track, including a new bridge (not yet functional).

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A young kauri.

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Jonathan attracted another companion for lunch.

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Remnants of a pack track.

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The stump of an old kauri, steaming in the humidity.

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Hardly a tall tree in sight.

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There was a path here.

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The old railway that used to cart the behemoth trees down the steep slope.

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