Just off the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island lies Kapiti Island.
Like so many off-shore islands in the country, Kapiti is also a haven for native flora and fauna due to the removal of mammalian pests like stoats and possums, and the re-introduction of native plant species.
You can take day trips on a 20 minute ferry journey from the mainland, or stay overnight with a Maori family who still privately own a part of the island. This was a wonderful experience to camp out (complete with private outdoor toilet) with the sound of kiwis and penguins waking you up! Such a peaceful and beautiful place!
There are the mischievous Kaka (native parrots), friendly North Island Robin, bold Weka, fat Kereru (wood pigeon), tuneful Bellbird, Tui, very rare Brown Teal, Morepork (nocturnal owl – named for its call)…and more besides (there are over 1,200 kiwi living here and Little Blue Penguins and Kokako)!
Part of the overnight stay involves going walking in the dark in search of wild Little Spotted Kiwi…and they remained little spotted as we did not see any due to the full moon and their talent for staying hidden…but what an experience it was! Great times, great place, great hosts!
If you are ever in the area, it is well worth a visit! Get away from it all!
Anyone who has ever picked up a vacuum cleaner and cleaned where a long haired person lives will probably know that it is truly incredible just how much hair gets in there. It is kind of nasty!
It occurred to me to ask the question, how is it that people (men or women) can lose so much hair and still retain a full head of the stuff?
Maybe it is all about regrowth.
I will say this, taking the decision to have a grade 2 and pave the way for (so far) the next 14 years of very short hair was a great decision…showering is so much quicker, as is drying your head/hair and there is no need to spend money on hair products or hairdressers. Isn’t it great that we live at a time when baldness isn’t something to be overly conscious about?
On the West coast of the very top of the North Island lies 90 Mile Beach.
Much like your average fisherman telling you the size of his catch, this name is an exaggeration as apparently the beach is only 90 Kilometres in length. ONLY!
It is of interest partly due to its length (of course), for the fact that there are enormous sand dunes that you can board down up near Cape Reinga, the fact that it is in essence a highway up and down the coast (be careful of the tides if you choose to do this…and check your car insurance too).
This place is renowned for car accidents. It is a strange thing to have to look both ways before walking down the beach (and where you park your car!)…and you sure need to be careful where you sunbathe else you might end up with tyre marks on you!
A casual glance at a map of the world tells me that if you head to the very North of New Zealand and could keep going, you would have an enormously long swim before you reach another country. The same is true of other directions because New Zealand really is incredibly distant from other nations geographically speaking.
At the very northern tip of the North Island is Cape Reinga, around 100km from Kaitaia (the most local town of any size). This is a sacred site for the Maori people as it is here that the spirits of the dead are said to journey to the underworld.
It was certainly worth the trip (on a nice day) to witness a beautiful location and one where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet. I cannot recall seeing a place where two oceans collide before, and while it wasn’t that tempestuous, you could see waves colliding from different angles.
Not long ago, we bought a swan plant from the local garden centre because it attracts beautiful Monarch butterflies.
Within seconds of getting it home, one had landed on said plant to take a look.
We noticed a couple of weeks later that this plant may not have been the only purchase we had made, however, as there were at least half a dozen hungry caterpillars gorging themselves on its leaves. The one in photo is around 2 inches (5cm) long and shows no sign of stopping its feast before it eventually turns into the gorgeous orange and black Monarch butterfly.
Isn’t nature beautiful?