Tuesday, 8 September 2015

south again

Today was mainly a driving day, to get back south of Auckland.

Many of the bends on NZ roads have a suggested speed, giving warning of their sharpness. That’s not peculiar, but it is quite exciting when driving along a road with a 100 kph speed limit, and seeing a “35” bend ahead…

At dinner yesterday I learned about Kiwi North near Whangarei (pronounced “Fonga-rie”; the Wh now follows the Maori pronunciation as an F).  Kiwis are nocturnal, and essentially impossible to see in the wild.  Here, in the Kiwi House, there are a couple of juvenile kiwis living on UK time!  The lights are kept dim during the local day (approximating a full moon) and then brightened at night.  So the nocturnal birds can be viewed (dimly) during daytime, and especially at feeding time.

It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the gloom, but I did get to see both kiwis; the larger older female was more active.  They are being kept in the same enclosure, with burrows at opposite corners, so that they can get accustomed to each other, and hopefully breed.

No photos possible, but here's a shot from the Kiwi North website (it was much darker than this in the Kiwi House)
I also had a look round the museum, at the Moa bones.  Then off south.  I stopped for a late lunch in Orewa, where I finally got a photo of a Norfolk Island Pine.  I've been seeing these all over the place, and with their sparse branches and upright needles, they just look fake, like bad camouflage for a phone mast, or a cheap plastic Christmas tree.  But they are real.

A Norfolk Island Pine.  Smaller ones look even more fake.
Then on to Thames, where I had decided to spend the night before pressing further south tomorrow.

From Dargaville to Thames, via the Kiwi house in Whangarai, ~ 350km

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