Saturday, April 9, 2011

Four days on the West Coast - part 2

Our Coast destination was Okarito, a tiny settlement best known for its colony of kotuku (white herons) and as the residence of Kerri Hulme, author of the bone people. We did not get to see the kotuku (the boat was temporarily out of commission) or Kerri Hulme (!), but I was charmed by Okarito.

Here is a 'typical' shot, looking south down the main street. The swan high stepping it down the road belonged to a local family.

I climbed up to the trig station in pouring rain and took this shot looking down on part of the village and Okarito lagoon.

I loved the baches...

A group of us spent several hours one night walking into the bush and 'waiting' in silence, surrounded by mosquitoes, to be rewarded by the sight of a female kiwi, coming out of the undergrowth and onto the track, used by the resident rowis as a convenient highway. The first kiwi I have seen in the wild. Our guide used infra-red torch light to gently illuminate her. She was apparently unaware of us and moved slowly, probing the ground with her long, sensitive beak. Special. Go to for a video clip about the rowi rescue.

Elaine and I also went kayaking on the lagoon...

...and I spotted this amazing driftwood tuatara ...

Sadly it was only as we drove back into Christchurch on the afternoon of the 22nd February that we became aware of what had happened in the city three hours previously. What a difference a day makes...


  1. Your hair looks lovely :)

    I adore the West Coast. It must be time to visit again.

  2. How lovely---to walk into the bush and see a kiwi in the wild---sounds sooooo positively exotic---except for the mosquito part.

    But yes, what a difference a day can make . . .

  3. Niki it is so time you all had a holiday!!!!

    Deb, it is a very sad fact that most NZers will never see a Kiwi except, perhaps, in captivity. And many of our other native birds are also endangered. They evolved in the absence of predators - and then we introduced stoats and ferrets and rats and possums... :-(