Photo of a robin coming to say 'Kia Ora' at Cannibal Gorge hut on the St James Walkway.
We are back in Christchurch to check out the house (and cats) we are looking after over Christmas. It was 35 degrees today, 10 degrees hotter than Moreton Bay where Sundari is sitting in Scarborough marina. Beaches at Sumner and Taylor's Mistake were full of sunworshippers and surfers. It's a whiff of the usual weather in the Gold Coast, but it'll probably be raining and freezing here, tomorrow!
We have time for 1 more long hike, or perhaps more, depending on the weather. We've just come down from the Lewis Pass and the west coast where we walked some, but not all, of the St. James walkway, one of NZ's oldest tracks.
Much of this area,which straddles the northernmost of the South Island's 3 passes that cross the Southern Alps, is public conservation land, clothed in southern beech forest.
As we trudged up the sometimes steep track that follows the lovely, raging Maruia River, high above Cannibal Gorge, we heard, then saw, the 3 K's - kea , alpine parrot, kākā, forest parrot and kakariki, yellow fronted parakeet, but not in large numbers. The other 'K', the flightless kakapo, the world's fattest and only nocturnal parrot used to live around here in the thousands, but is almost extinct, but holding its ground in Fiordland.
Our old friends, the little robins, hopped out of nowhere for a close up inspection. Like the tomtits, fantails and weka, we have always wondered whether these birds live in the shadow of the long extinct moa. The behaviour of these wild birds is far too consistently 'friendly' to make sense, unless there is a genetic component to it. Maybe in years gone by when giant birds stalked these same forests, the smaller birds foraged for food stirred up by big feet. We'll never know of course!
We're looking at the weather as usual before choosing the next walk. It looks crappy for the next week as lows roll in over the Tasman.
Lewis Pass tarn and lower Maruia Valley
Suspension Bridge over the Maruia River
at Cannibal Gorge
Cannibal Gorge DOC hut.There was only us, the birds and the sandflies here.
Maruia River on the track to Ada Pass
Ada Pass DOC hut, St James Walkway
Ada Pass loo with a view