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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
Mount Bruce reserve
Sarah
14/02/2008, Just North of the summit of Mt Bruce

Not far north of my night's stopping place, on State Highway 2, is the National Wildlife Centre at Mount Bruce. This is a large stretch of bush, just rescued from the logging frenzy that fuelled NZ growth at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the project aims to rejuvenate the forest as home to wild, breeding native species such as kiwi. Their biggest challenge is the possum, 70m of which are now wild in this country, enormously destructive both to trees and to birds.
The centre has a number of large aviaries which are home to individuals and breeding pairs of endangered species, and their programme is a key part of restoring native populations. Ground-nesting birds are particularly vulnerable to introduced predators such as stoat and possum so they bring eggs into their hatcheries, protect the tiny chicks and then reintroduce them to the wild. This has been successful, especially with kiwi. This is a North Island Kokako, named Pakiki, because she is. The word means 'curious' in Maori. She is planned to be a breeding mother.

Places and people
Avenue walks
Sarah
14/02/2008


This is a short part of this walk. It wasn't all quite this easy but you can see that some sections of the bush are very accessible.

Places and people
Rata carving
Sarah
14/02/2008


The beech forest at Tararua contains lots of walks, some very short and easy, as well as sections of longer tramps. I took a quiet hour on the loop track and saw this amazing rata twisted into curves and shapes worthy of the prow of a great canoe.

Places and people
Luxurious dinner
Sarah
13/02/2008, Tararua

It's a shame Pip missed this, as we have had relatively few opportunities to eat outside while in Puff. (Other times have been good; we had three splendid al fresco dinners while at Mel and Michelle's.) Too often sandflies or weather have made us retreat inside.
This evening there are relatively few flies, and those that appear have been scared off by our citronella candles and Bug Off. (These have but limited effect on the fiercer monsters of the South Island.) I have some excellent kebabs (from Scotty's, the ace butcher in Martinborough), beans and rice, with avocado and tomato. Paul Simon on the ipod and a glass of whisky.
There's only one other van here, another lone woman. She's a Canadian, of European descent, and in a European way we've parked out of each other's sight. The site is deep in the Tararua Forest, and all around birds are busy with their chicks.

Places and people
Sweet Martinborough
Sarah
13/02/2008

From Putangirua I drove to the popular little town of Martinborough. This, the main hotel on the tree filled square, is a typical balconied and decorated building in this pretty place. Sadly, we will miss the festival here in early March as we want to be in Auckland shortly afterwards for the Pasifika Arts Festival, so I was glad to stop and look around for a wee while.

Places and people
Winter gorge
Sarah
13/02/2008

In winter, presumably, the water fills much of this gorge. You wouldn't walk this way with any risk of a flash flood.

Places and people
Summer streams
Sarah
13/02/2008

Aotearoa is in the grip of a drought. The headlines are full of falling reservoirs and potential water restrictions.
For us, we seem to be bringing rain to parched landscapes almost everywhere we go. It rained really heavily last night, but obviously not enough to provoke this stream to full flood.

Places and people
Castles in the air
Sarah
13/02/2008

From the lookout you clamber down to the stream bed. (Obviously you can do the walk the other way but I did the easier climb.) It's then maybe 300 or 500 metres up to the base of the pinnacles, offering an even more astonishing image.
That stretch was the hardest slog of the whole walk, as there's no shade in the stream bed during the day, and the shale slips away from your boots, needing constant attention and strong muscles.

Places and people
More astonishing geology
Sarah
13/02/2008

These pinnacles are formed from the soft gravels of the area. They are 12-14 million years old, and over the millennia, the river Putangirua has eroded deep gullies ('badlands) down which the rain pours, washing away the gravel. Large boulders shed the water, and protect the gravel immediately below them, creating these pinnacles. When they lose the capping rock (as many have), they erode quickly.
I climbed up the 'bush track', about a n hour of fairly steep going, climbing maybe 100m. At the top a look out has been built off the cliff, providing this splendid view.

Places and people
Aotearoa
Sarah
13/02/2008

The Maori name for New Zealand means Land of the Long White Cloud, and here is the suspended precipitation strutting its stuff. Some argue that the country should formally change its name (back) to Aotearoa; others oppose that idea. It would put NZ ahead of Australia in all the Olympic/World Cup parades!
This is taken from a look out in the bush walking into the Aorangi hills from the site. The headland under the clouds is Turakirae Head, the toe of the Rimutaka Range. On the far side lies Wellington.

Places and people
High cliffs in the south of the north
Sarah
12/02/2008, Putangirua Pinnacles

The southernmost DOC site on the North Island is at Putangirua Reserve. Here is Puff under the cliffs that tower above the river in the campsite, just off the road.
There was a strong breeze blowing from the south, so we actually spent the night tucked away behind some bushes, and even so we shook occasionally in the wind.
There were only two other vans in the site, and in fact they were the only two I'd seen after turning off the main road at Featherston.

Places and people
Glowering skies over the lake
Sarah
12/02/2008, Lake Wiararapa

For a few days we decided to have separate adventures. Pip is spending a few days with her mother, so Beryl gets her to herself for once. In the meantime Sarah is exploring the area known as the Wairarapa, after the large lake at its centre. Pip knows the area well; it's Wellington's playground, known as 'over the hill' all of her life.
Tuesday afternoon was pretty gloomy, with racing clouds and quite a breeze kicking up across the water as I stood on the western shore.

Places and people

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