Sunday, March 03, 2013

Kiwis!

Seeing a live kiwi bird was high on our list of things to do and today would be the day. So from New Plymouth (North Island of New Zealand), we didn't waste too much time heading back on the last day of our tour of the North and South Islands.

Along the way, we noticed a black sand beach (Waitara Beach) where we saw fishermen with unusual contraptions. We decided to investigate and had a chat with them as they explained how they fished from the ocean with it. They have a self-propelled torpedo that tows out a fishing line over a kilometre with numerous baited hooks. After an hour or so, they haul it in with an electric motor winch and drag up whatever they catch. We watched them bring in a half dozen snappers, 1 about 7 lbs.

Electric fishing line winch in foreground

At noon, we stopped for a quick lunch at a picnic table we spotted before proceeding to the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park...

Roadside wino

A kiwi is a bird with hairy feathers and tiny useless wings. To see one in the wild is rare because their numbers are much depleted and they are nocturnal. So we had to settle on seeing them in captivity. At Otorohanga Kiwi House, it was not a real clear viewing of the kiwis as their enclosure is kept dimly lit so that they are active for the viewers. But we were able to espy the adorable flightless birds running around. About the size of a chicken, they lay the largest egg of any bird in relation to their body size. And they are the only bird in the world with external nostrils at the tip of their long beak.

Below, not real, but stuffed kiwis on display

We considered staying just south of Auckland but remembered there would be rush-hour traffic the next morning (Monday), so we pressed on finally staying at Warkworth, north of the big city.

The next and last morning of our trip (March 4th, day 11), it was an easy ride to our destination, but we did make one last stop at a 'sheep shop', a touristy hobby sheep farm and retail store. For fun, they sprayed some of their sheep pink with a water soluble spray. Why? Who knows, maybe an insider Kiwi meaning.

Pretty in pink (NOT photo-shopped!)

Tired and sore after a total of 4,609 kilometres, we delivered our bike back to the shop at Whangarei in time to change, get a delicious Thai lunch, and catch the bus for the 1-hour ride back to Opua and Sea Turtle.

It was a great motorcycle tour on great roads and we timed the weather perfectly. We hit no rain and it was warm to hot most of the time. However, we were both happy to get back to our floating home with its relaxing atmosphere!

1 comment:

Cathryn and Daragh on SV Chantey said...

Hi there from New Plymouth. (Bahamas, that is) I guess those Pilgrims got around just like the BCA ers! You guys sure have covered a lot ogf ground since we last met.
We will be crossing from Bahamas to Florida next week as we make our way home northwards.
Cheers
Daragh & Cathryn
SV Chantey V