We have come to learn that New Zealand is an island surrounded by islands. Te Ara website says the following...
"New Zealand is a nation of islands. The mainland is flanked by more than 600 smaller islands that lie within about 50 kilometres of the coast...."
Until recently, we have only ventured out as far as the island Waiheki which is known for its amazing wineries. Yesterday we "had a go" at a unique island experience.
Kiwi Birds 40+
Which means the kiwi BIRD out numbers the kiwi PEOPLE :-)
Photo credit: http://www.doc.govt.nz
MOTUIHE is an island with a colorful past but currently is being developed as a natural reserve for NZ nature and wildlife. In a nutshell they are replanting the island with native trees and bushes and relocating native animals, like the kiwi, to help them thrive. (No we didn't see any. Kiwis birds are nocturnal and extremely shy. They are mostly monitored by video surveillance on this island.) Although the island is not closed to the public, ferries do not regularly run here so you either have to take your own boat, or charter a ride.
We left the City of Sails behind and voyaged out to the island with a group of students to participate in a tree planting project.
We sailed past other islands
past Lighthouses, and in and out of rain clouds,
past old volcanoes, till we finally arrived.
We schlepped our lunches, rain gear, water and sunscreen up the hill to our designated spot. No stores on the island so we had to come prepared. Being the token Americans, we needed a pack mule to carry all our provisions. Kiwis have an innate ability to pack everything they need into the tiniest packs ever. My pack was 3x bigger than the average kiwis' and filled with ONLY the above items. When we finally sat down to lunch these people were pulling out cook stoves and various knitting projects on top of all their other supplies. Still scratching my head....
One of the many things i love about NZ is that you can be looking straight ahead at the amazing view, dumbfounded at how beautiful it is and you suddenly turn around because someone calls your name and you realize there has been yet another brilliant view at your back the entire time.
At the narrowest part of the island the beach is only about 15 paces away from you on either side.
With a tractor laden with spades, saplings, bushes, flax plants and children, we headed out to preserve a bit of New Zealand nature.
A ranger lives on the island but must go back to main island for supplies. No electricity only generators here.
Hard work was rewarded with a lunch break on the beach.
Little lunch was eaten but much fun was had.
It has been raining on and off all week with hopeful hints of spring here and there. It was lovely to get off the big island and find a patch of sunny beach and soak up the island life even if for a brief moment. Back in Auckland, just 30 minutes away, gray clouds and rain were waiting for us, but for a day we experienced history, exploration, conservation, new friendships and a warm sunny rope swing all on a nearly deserted island with a population of 1.