Exploring the Bay of IslandsMay 7 in New Zealand
Getting into bodies of water is one of my favorite things to do on vacation. We've been spending some time up north, in the semi-tropical region of New Zealand. I spent a little time gathering sea shells from our gorgeous campside in Matauri Bay this morning, before heading out to Paihia, along the coast of the Bay of Islands.
We were doing a hike out to the Haruru waterfall through the forest, and Mangrove groves. Gates on either side of the trail were meant to keep dogs out. This is one of the last remaining regions for kiwi birds, and they are virtually defenseless against dogs. Apparently a few years ago, a run away german shepherd killed about 600 kiwi in just a few weeks.
I love foreign flora and fauna. Huge fern trees, and ground ferns, and parasitic air plants perched on other trees, strange bird calls, and one type of tiny bird that kept fanning his tail feathers at us like a peacock. Odd, wiry trees with puffs at the top I think of as Dr. Seuss trees, waved gently in the wind. And I think we were both very excited to walk through the mangroves.
A boardwalk took us out through this coastal mangrove forest. The tide was out so we could see their breathing roots pointing up everywhere. We were mystified by the near constant popping sounds, until we learned they were shrimp in their little muddy holes.
Once we got to the waterfall, we began a snow kayak cruise back to base. The guide had an interesting mix of lore, leged, history, and naturalism. I was most fascinated by the trees full of cormorants. They were nesting and you could see many nests full of baby birds vying for food and attention.
It's terrific to be here in a shoulder season, where we can snag a nearby beachside campground without reservations.Read more