Saturday, April 6, 2013

Queenstown and Arrowtown

April 5th and 6th

Our last host said it was the end for New Zealand when people arrived. I think about that. New Zealand had only birds, three bats, a few lizards and frogs. The biggest around were birds. The Moa weren't too bright. They were grazers, like cows. The most aggressive and probably most intelligent was the Haast'sEagle.  A giant bird whose talons had the strength of a tiger. So what would have been next on the evolutionary scale for this country? Hawkman?

We spend the early afternoon walking around the Queenstown Botanic Gardens next to Lake Wakatipu. 

Things are multipurpose here. The entire garden is part of a disc golf course. We spot some duffers poorly playing with one old style Frisbee each. But they were having fun. 

 There was also a lawn bowling space and tennis courts. We take advantage of a picnic table to fix our lunch. High tech toilets in the park have electronic locks. Press the red light to lock. Press the green light to unlock.

We are in the top suite of out B&B called the Turrets. We have a huge bedroom, sitting room, walk-in closet/coffee service area. There is a big balcony overlooking the grounds. Lovely. William and the balcony are great friends.

I tried whitebait without really knowing what it was. I was thinking something like small fish, but not tiny babies. They are so small they hardly look like fish when crisply fried, only 2 inches long max. I won't do that again. It is very environmentally wasteful, as these babies would grow up to be regular fish.

After breakfasting downstairs we head back to Queenstown for a crafts fair.
Richard would like these.

And then off to the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

 This is a private conservation effort to save New Zealand plants and wildlife. The area is crowded because most people are here to ride the gondola, play miniature golf or whatever else is up here. The birdlife park is not crowded, but very nice. This hillside was a former informal dump 30 years ago, when the founding family bought it and transformed it by hand into a park with mostly New Zealand native plants. The birds are in aviaries for protection. The area is fenced and they do have traps for predators. They have a breeding program and do release birds where they can into other larger sanctuaries and parks. Some of the permanent resident birds were injured and are unable to leave. They have a half hour conservation show.
They keep one of the prime predators as an example. The Australian Bush Possum that was brought here for a fur industry.

This New Zealand Pigeon does not fly much.

Tuatara, an ancient species 

Kiwi egg replica next to a stuffed kiwi. They lay really huge eggs for their size.
We get to watch the kiwi feeding, almost in the dark as they are nocturnal. They have a kiwi breed and release program.
These ducks are outside the aviary, not inside with the more endangered birds.
Most of the Kea's bright colors are on its wings.
Hawkman or Haast's Eagle Man?

We come back to our digs and make our own lunch. We could go out again, but it is too nice here.

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