Pukaha Mount Bruce

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-43-48-pmWesley and I visited Pukaha Mount Bruce this afternoon whilst Mike was helping some friends on a farm nearby.  Mount Bruce is a wildlife restoration centre that focuses on reestablishing endangered and rare New Zealand birds.  The centre spans some 940 hectares of dense native forest and is a beautiful place to hike and enjoy a native forest.

We spent a few hours walking around taking in all the gorgeous colours and sounds.  At the moment the forest is absolutely teeming with cicada.  The sounds of summer calling in the humid air!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-35-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-37-14-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-08-pm Conservation has been taking place within the park since the 1960’s and is maintained by international volunteers throughout the seasons.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-43-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-55-pmHere you’ll find encounters with endangered (and rare white) kiwi, eels, and quite a few beautiful birds including: kokako, kaka, hihi, takahe, kakariki and whio.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-18-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-56-55-amThe kaka particularly captivate me.  The dark wine colours of their feathers paired with their cheeky personalities make them irresistible to watch.  There are roughly 160 kaka in the forest that are all free to travel and are indeed quite wild.  They have an impressive range of calls…some almost gremlin like and others quite sweet.  screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-40-42-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-41-55-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-42-08-pm

If you are near Masterton, I highly recommend checking this place out.  It’s not to be missed!

Fern Walk, Pohangina Valley


Yesterday, I spent two and a quarter hours hiking in the Pohangina Valley, on the search for some local native orchids.  While my flower search was fruitless, the hiking was quite stunning and peaceful.  The air was so refreshing, with no one else around it felt like I’d stepped back in time… I found myself imagining what it must have felt like for the original settlers of New Zealand to inhabit and clear this bush for settlement and farm land.

The emerald coloured fern, covered the forest floor and ancient Rimu and Totara trees towered above creating a dark dense walk.  If you’re in the area I highly recommend you check out this wonderful track.

Baby Penguins, Hot Springs and Seals

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These photos represent the last leg of our trip up the east coast of the South Island.  We spent time with Val and John on their farm for one night in Invercargill and then began the journey North.

Dunedin was a really interesting city, though we only passed through we did take some time to look at the Albatross breeding grounds and found some adorable little wild penguin chicks hiding in a burrow on the peninsula which was also covered in very lethargic seals.  The colour blue of these babies is stunning.  I love thier hairy, downy backs.

From Dunedin we visited a popular place called Moeraki Boulders, and attempted to get a reservation at the much hyped Fluers restaurant – however we should have called ahead.  The joint was packed, and so we ate at a local pub and settled in for one of our last nights  camping…in really mild weather.  Despite being right on the coast, the breeze was warm and very calm.  Next time we head South we’ll be sure to book in and try out Fluers though, the menu looked so good.

The boulders we saw the following morning, the small cormorant was being pestered by tourists, though I think it was a little baby.  He was literally being petted by children and did not seem to mind.  I loved the foreign almost alien like spheres that dotted the sand.  The lighting and ocean that morning were both quite beautiful.

From here we spent two more nights camping in a really cool spot called “Hanmer Springs”.  The springs were so nice.  Possibly the best we’ve been to, and were settled right in the midst of the woods.  I looooved floating in the water, and eventually Mike had to plead with me to get out.  It was such a great spot.  Mike declared it his favourite place and I think I’d agree for a long holiday it would be a peaceful place to unwind.

Our second night at Hanmer Springs however was slightly less relaxing as an INSANE wind storm rolled in and screamed through the trees around us.  While this normally wouldn’t have been much of an issue, we had placed our tent underneath a rather large and ageing tree that had already lost a few enormous branches.  We both discussed the possibility of a branch falling onto the tent and the thought kept us both up for the majority of the night.

Upon rising, there was a forest fire ablaze a few kilometres away and the only road out was blocked for roughly 6 hours due to the forest fire operation keeping it under control.  The whole town was in a frenzy, police, fire trucks… tourists were everywhere.

Lucky enough our ferry wasn’t headed to Wellington until the following day.  We shot off as soon as the road opened and headed to Picton for one last night of tenting.

The month went by really quickly, and you can see us enjoying one of the last nights in our tent with my robust belly safely keeping our little dude housed and warm.  He’s been kicking quite a bit, and is due to meet us in about 2.5 months.  It seems ages away but…then we’re like not prepared just yet!! haha.

Yesterday Mikes family was so helpful and basically moved us into our home.  We hardly did anything, it was such a nice surprise!  Tess even came around for a snuggle and was very excited.

We’re both not sure she’s clued into my belly yet…



Long Weekend – Eneabba & Greenhead

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 This weekend I traveled North to Eneabba to spend the long weekend with Brian and Tessa on the farm.  We headed to the coast our first few days to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere to beach always brings  During this time, we socialised for a few nights, enjoyed the local art scene and also got to witness the rare blood moon.  Tessie (our dog) warmly greeted us when we returned to the farm and I spent several hours taking her and the 3 other’s into the bush.  It was so nice to enjoy the quiet and company this weekend.

Mike will be headed to Coorow this Thursday to begin a seeding season, which will have him back on farm soil for about three months.  I’m happy that he’ll get a chance to get back onto the land, but also deeply sad that he’ll be away for 3 months (I’m trying not to think about it too much!).  I’m going to either pass my driving test in a few weeks time (fingers and toes crossed) or take a bus to visit him, depending on how I go.

Anyway, this Easter long weekend was really just great.  It would have been made even better if Mike were with us too.

Hoping you all enjoying your breaks too.  What did you get up to?  Did you eat buckets of chocolate?

floating blobs of pink.

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What a beautiful bird…Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 11.27.13 AM

I take that previous statement back!!!

From top to bottom:  Spotted Jellyfish, Grey Kangaroo, Australian Raven, Darter, Straw-necked Ibis (Juvenile).

I took my camera to Heirisson Island this morning just before it started to rain.  I was hoping to catch the kangaroo in the soft glow of sunrise, and found myself photographing all sorts of creatures.  I crouched in the water and rain for an hour with majorly aching hips to get a decent photo of some pink jellyfish, and learned a few lessons about lighting underwater (utilising only the sun here).  I did wonder if having dozens of little floaters touching me was safe… luckily if any got too near I wafted them away with the end of my camera.

Well, I’m pretty cold now from being out in the rain all morning, so I’m putting on David Attenborough’s “Life in the Undergrowth” and cuddling up with a blanket, while simultaneously mowing down some soup.

Sunday Sounds:

Riptide – Vance Joy

Garden City Movement – Terracotta

ZHU – Faded

Noosa – Clocktower

Flume – On Top Feat. T. Shirt