Tough question! Katy says that seeing a native bird in an aviary counts, as opposed to seeing something such as a kiwi in the Pittsburgh Zoo.
On Thursday, we headed north along the coast. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Tasman sea was quite picturesque. It wasn’t far into the drive before I realized that there are virtually no straight stretches of road in the entire country, and New Zealanders are very aggressive drivers, a fact that they readily acknowledge. We stopped for a delicious picnic lunch, before heading inland.
Our destination was the Otorohanga Kiwi Preserve and Bird Park. The kiwi is a flightless, nocturnal bird that nests in a burrow. The preserve has an active breeding program and regularly releases birds into established predator free areas. In the “nocturnal” house, they trick the kiwis by reversing day and night. We were able to see one of the three birds in this house during the keeper talk. Outside, we then meandered through the bird park and saw many native species. Our next keeper talk was at the giant eel pond. Now, these eels swim the whole way (against the current) to Guam to breed. The fry then drift with the current back to NZ. The keeper had on an awesome outfit!! Soooo Kiwi.
We next headed to our “farm stay” airb&b, making sure we made it for the 5:00pm tour. Our host has 30 acres of pasture with emus, ostriches, goats, alpacas, llamas, and miniature horses, donkeys, pigs, a bull, a highland cow, and others. Katy was in her element! Already planning her own little farmette,
Our lovely cottage.
Up the next morning for our 8:30 tour at Glowing Adventures glow worm cave. The privately owned caves have been in the family since 1912. There is a much larger, highly touristed tour that we did not choose. This cave has no electricity or paved pathways. They issued us hard hats, headlamps, clothing and boots, as much of the tour involved walking through the creek and crawling over rocks. We even got to see two giant eels in their natural habitat. The tour ended with the spectacular glowworm display!
On the return to New Plymouth, we stopped at Tongaporutu and walked the black sand beach to the Three Sisters.
Next up? Thanksgiving dinner! Now this took some serious grocery store skills, as Kiwis do not have this holiday. We ended up with a delicious chicken, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut (very difficult to locate), stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy, asparagus, and cranberry sauce (once again, very difficult to find).. Not to mention , that K and T have only lived in this temporary house for 4 days and really don’t know what they have or where it is!I
(That is a roasted yellow tomato, not an egg yolk.)
So, we are binging on holidays, and the next morning was Christmas!!
The rest of the day was spent with Katy working🤨, and us going to the local Taranaki Museum.
Notes: The weather is still very unpredictable, unless you take into account that it will probably rain. Electricity is very expensive. The electric outlets need to be turned on to activate. There is no drip coffee. It is all barista style. Katy and Todd are really good at Ticket to Ride Europe. I miss this guy.