As I was going to sleep last night I could hear the sea thundering and crashing. When I woke it was silent. I am still deciding if it is the tides. The difference in the high tide and low tide height is huge and the sea gets very deep very quickly so there is a shelf for the sea to bounce off, if that makes sense. I am used to sea you can wade out for a considerable distance before it is too deep. I was pondering the effect of a tidal wave and didn’t like the result! Coincidentally there was a moderate earthquake early this morning but no tsunami 🙂
I was going to go to an area called The Fenian. The young German tourists had been there yesterday and showed me the gold they had found. Part of it is quite a hike and I’m working on fitness and energy 😉 so I changed my mind and went to the end of the road (sealed all the way, I was told. Yeah, right!). One of the nice things about being here is there are few people. I can stop in the centre of the road and take a photo, maybe even a video, and know the likelihood of another car is minimal. I also have the commonsense to stop where I have a clear view both behind and ahead.
The end of the road is a D.O.C. (Department of Conservation) managed part of the Kahurangi National Park with great information boards, nice toilets and for a small cost, available for freedom camping (no power). It’s also the end of the Heathy Track, a 4 or 5 day hike from Golden Bay; self managed, no sherpas. It was a dream and now one I won’t realise but I had to go just a little way.
There is a lovely swing bridge a little way in over the Kohaihai river which is stained brown from the natural organic tannins released into the water by several of the plant species in the area. Leaves and other plant matter on the forest floor releases these tannins as they decompose – this eventually leeches into and stains the water, with the shade and intensity varying depending on rainfall and season. There were remnants of huge trees that had been brought down in floods.
The bush had many nikau palms (Rhopalostylis sapida endemic to New Zealand and our only palm) and many old endemic trees. I wondered if this may be original bush. The early settlers felled and burned much of New Zealand to make way for crops and animals though a few original stands do remain. I was surprised that the trunks of the nikau were wet. I met groups of “proper hikers” who were finishing their hikes (most seen to go north to south doing the steepest section first).
I spent some time on the beach and at the D.O.C. site chatting and watching the birds. There were few in the bush. The Weka was comical and obviously a local resident. I watched a couple unpack their lunch on the table, he went and had a pee by the tree (I had to avert my eyes, lazy man, there was a toilet close by) and 5 minutes later I saw the Weka racing across the grass with part of their lunch in his mouth. They left, good job Weka! They are well known for their thieving nature and, although flightless they can run really fast.
I called into the store to get a drink and a pie (steak and mushroom) and went down to the estuary to do some bird watching. I saw a Fern Bird, endemic and often heard, rarely seen. I got a few photos but had the wrong camera with me. I also was amused watching the Tuis feeding on the nectar from the flax bushes.
I had a visitor when I returned though by the time I picked up the camera he was on his way. I missed the shot of him with his head in the Ducato, begging (almost 🙂 Last night I had a visit from Cassie, a very nice kitty. I miss my Phee ❤
I nearly forgot, the neighbours had been white baiting. They have been scarce this year and they are expensive: up to $100 a kilo (about 2 pounds in a kilo) or more!!!!!