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NZ: Day 4 – Zealandia

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Day 4 was a rather cloudy, drizzly day. We planned to go to the nature reserve Zealandia today so the rain was not particularly welcome. Anyway, we headed out to catch the free shuttle bus to the park.

tentacles
The bus stop near the tourist information centre has tentacles. (In honour of the colossal squid at Te Papa?)

brunch
Had brunch at the Rata Cafe at Zealandia first. It was raining quite heavily when we arrived anyway.

for kids
The cafe had a play pen for kids. I thought that was a nice touch.

The rain seemed to have ceased by the time we were done with brunch, so we decided to go in after all. It turned out to be pretty good timing because we were just in time to catch the guided tour.

bird
This is a tui, a bird endemic to New Zealand.

another bird
I’m guessing this is a kawau tui, or little black shag.

kiwi signage
The place is dotted with signboards like this one, indicating which kiwis live around the area. This signboard tells you that you’re entering the territory of two kiwis named Jackson and Fran. hahah

nothing to see
I thought this was funny. “Nothing to see here! No, really.” hahahahha

takahe
We managed to catch the takahe feeding session before the guided walk began.

space
This always fascinates me about first world countries: that people know how to keep a distance from animals without being explicitly told to do so. If this was in Malaysia or any other Asian country (excepting Japan and maybe South Korea), the people would be crowding round so close that the birds would run away in fright.

hungry takahe
Takahe having lunch.

tuatara sighting notice
Guided walk begins, and first up is a stroll through the Research Area along Lake Road. This signboard at the gate is for people to note tuatara sightings. Tuatara like to bask in the sun there. Our guide warned us that it might not be a good day for seeing tuataras as it was still somewhat overcast and they might not be out of their hidey holes.

tuatara
However, we did see a number of tuatara! Like this juvenile, for instance.

aozora
Then the sun came out, along with blue, blue skies.

path
I like walking through paths that are flanked and covered by trees like this.

kaka
Our guided walk ended at the kaka feeding station. Here’s a kaka waiting for feeding time.

thirsty kaka
Thirsty kaka.

hungry kaka
Hungry kaka

 

dam
Panoramic shot of the upper dam. (Here’s the map on the website, just for reference. We followed the recommended red route. Upper Dam will be at the top of the map.)

eel feeding
After making our way down from the dam (where it was so windy I was afraid my scarf and sunglasses would be blown away somewhere), we decided to see if we could catch the eel feeding. We could, and did. haha But the eels are apparently so happy with the fish they can catch themselves that they often feel no need to come out and take the food given by the staff. They only continue the feedings for the sake of education and exposure.

eel sighting
We were lucky enough to actually see an eel emerge for a while, although it retreated after a bit. The lady who brought the food said that it’s rare to see one because they’re more nocturnal, and they aren’t that hungry. Most times, she says, the feeding sessions are like talking about invisible eels because they stay hidden. hahah

tuataras seen
Upon leaving, we noticed that they’ve updated the tuatara sighting list.

I wish we’d had the energy to take a night tour – it would’ve been cool to see kiwis. But it was still fun in the end. A good 3+ hours spent in there. We were tired after all that walking. haha

Got anything to add or say? :D