Day 14 - Thursday

Orewa Travel Blog

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Finally the long awaited day trip to birding mecca! The sunrise found me walking along the beach picking up a few shells. I had a little time to kill since I was now leaving out of Gulf Harbor and that was only a 20 minute drive away. I could only stand it until about 8:00 so I got to the marina an hour or so early. But that was fine, it was a lovely area to wander around in. Picked up a meat pie at a little café for breakfast. My opinion on the meat pies ��" skip them! We boarded the ferry at 9:50 and took the quick boat ride to the island, again about 20 minutes. The ranger gave a little chat then I took a guided hike. The ferry can bring up to 150 people. I think we had maybe 20 and half of those were volunteers going over to do some work or lead the hikes.

So we took a leisurely stroll through the center of the island, through some native bush are and some replanted areas and out to the lighthouse.

Lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi
Took about 3 hours. We stopped for lunch at the lighthouse and then we were on our own. After lunch I ambled around down another track. We were hoping to see the holy grail of birds there ��" the kokako. There are only 20 on the island. Recently, the naturalists took 5 birds off the island to reintroduce to other reserves and to cut down on inbreeding. Unfortunately, I think the birds remember that and want nothing to do with the humans who took away 5 of their friends! So no kokakos were seen today.

I’m having a heck of a time with these Maori names! Kokako, kakapo, pukeko, takahe, pateke ��" lots of vowels. Switch a couple and I tell people I saw a cockapoo. No wonder they look at me strange!

The day trip ended with me seeing 4 lifebirds but missing a couple I had hoped to see on the island. Ah well, maybe next time. There was a guy on the boat who had tried 6 different locations in NZ to find the kokako and missed every time.

The winds had picked up and it looked like it would be a bumpy ride but all was fine. The weather had been absolutely gorgeous all day and into the evening. Sunset saw me doing the same thing as sunrise ��" walking along the beach. This time I was in search of Thai food! I got takeaway and went back to the campground where I ate dinner at a picnic table out looking over the ocean. It was a nice evening. I saw a lady walking two greyhounds and it made me miss all my past boys and girls!

Now sadly I begin the process of going home. I still have most of tomorrow. My flight doesn’t leave until 9:30 pm but I have to turn in the campervan before the office closes at 4 or 5 pm. I need to check what time they close! So I’m going to make a run down just south of Auckland to Miranda, a place on the Firth of Thames that is supposed to be shorebird heaven. But now I’m debating if I should start packing things up. I’ve done the dishes so that’s taken care of. Next comes the fun job of dumping the grey and black water. I thought the grey water dump was fun! Then I did the black water ��" ick but not as bad as I thought it would be. My biggest worry is if I will be able to finish the amaretto before it’s time to go through airport security!

So I’ve got a half hour of paid wifi time. We’ll see how much uploading that gets me!

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Lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi
Lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi
11,945 km (7,422 miles) traveled
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photo by: pinkpeardrops