Around DunedinMarch 19, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F
This morning we went with June and Dave to Orokonui nature reserve, enjoying some stunning views back across Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula along the way. We enjoyed a walk through the forest there and saw some native New Zealand birds. They have built a fence around much of the reserve, to keep out the introduced predators that attack the birds and eggs, so some of the endemic NZ birds that are now rare in the wild are protected here. Birds we saw included the Takahe (see photo #4 - the world's largest water rail), the tui and the kaka (large parrot). We also saw Otago skink (small lizards) and Tuatara (a rare NZ lizard, unchanged since dinosaur times). NZ actually has no native mammals except 3 bat species (a fact I had no idea of before coming here), so the ecosystem here now looks very different to how it did 150 years ago before significant European settlement... We also enjoyed a picnic at the reserve and the sun continued to shine for us - although we understand that the NZ weather is as variable as the British weather, we're not sure how long this sun will last... We're also pleased to report that we haven't had much in the way of jetlag since arriving in NZ from Bangkok - so either it is very delayed, or we've been lucky!
After Orokonui, we headed up the coast to Moeraki and walked down to the beach there. On this beach are the "Moeraki Boulders" - large, very round stones that are actually formed by concretion - they form in a deposit of mud or sand when minerals (mainly calcite) from the groundwater cement some of he sediment into rock. We're not sure we fully understand how they were formed but they look impressive! We have another day in Dunedin tomorrow, when we plan to spend some time in the city itself and also buy a few things to take onwards on our journey.Read more