The North Island exclusive files: big city

This is a continuation from the previous article, which you can find here: sea, trees and volcanoes. Today, we are in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. We’ll be watching planes and birds at the airport, and we’ll lie in the mud to shoot grebes and rails. In the end, we’ll spend one fantastic sunset around the gannet colony in Muriwai, a delightful ending for a great one-year adventure in kiwiland.

Welcome!

Plane and bird spotting at Auckland Airport

Puketutu Island

Puketutu is a small island in South Auckland, linked to the mainland at all times by a causeway. There, I discovered a pond with lots of birds: spoonbills, ducks… and New Zealand grebes (Poliocephalus rufopectus), a species I wanted to photograph better. Signs along the lake warned against touching the water (let alone swimming!), as it was a discharge pond for the local wastewater treatment plant… urgh, icky. Let’s say it moderately scared me, but didn’t prevent me from lying on the rocky shore to take pictures of birds at eye-level! Both times I biked from my residence in Mangere Bridge, both times I got soaked, but both times were worth the effort, as I made some interesting images 🙂

Western Springs

A popular park in the city, with many tame birds. Lots of problems with people giving bread to birds (don’t do that), but lots of opportunities to approach birds closer than in usual circumstances.

North Shore

Last sunset in Muriwai

So there we were. My last days in New Zealand. Could I think of a better place to spend them than Muriwai? Hmmm, probably not. Thank you Carol for taking me there ❀

****

Follow me! Newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
 you name it!

Want to support me? Buy a premium print!

****

BIRD INVENTORY

The North Island exclusive files: sea, trees and volcanoes

Hi again, and welcome to one of my last articles about New Zealand!

Today’s post presents a hodgepodge of places from the North Island, some you’ve seen before, some you haven’t, but with pictures never released on this blog before.
Our trip will start with a relaxing break in Napier, by the Pacific Ocean. From there, we’ll cross the Ahimanawa Range to spend a cloudy day in the Redwoods of Rotorua. Our next destination will be the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park, before moving back to Auckland, the largest city in the country, in a second article. There, we’ll be watching planes and birds at the airport, and we’ll lie in the mud to shoot grebes and rails. In the end, we’ll spend one fantastic sunset around the gannet colony in Muriwai, a delightful ending for a great one-year adventure in kiwiland.

Welcome!

Napier

My time in Napier was short, as I was in transit between Castlepoint and Whirinaki. Cities are not really my cup of tea, but I enjoyed the museum and the surf of the ocean.

Continue reading

Ruska 2020: Pallas-YllÀs

It was that time of the year, again. Temperatures going down, trees turning yellow, orange, red.

We didn’t have so many plans for this corona-year, so fortunately not much got canceled, but after 2 weeks in Vivien’s family in Hungary in August, we felt like we could do something inside Finland. Vivien had never been to Lapland, so we decided it would be our next destination.

Continue reading

Volunteering on Tiritiri

Tiritiri Matangi was the first patch of nature I visited after I arrived in New Zealand. Remember? I sailed out of Auckland and spent 4 nights on the island, a reforested sanctuary where rare endemic species have been reintroduced.

Want to learn more about Tiritiri or refresh your memory? Please have a look at the following articles:

Tiritiri part 1 | Tiritiri part 2 | Tiritiri part 3

That was in August 2018. Fast-forward almost a year, I’m staying in Auckland for the last few weeks of my stay, spending most of my free time exploring the shoreline near my apartment. One day, I received an email from a coordinator at the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi: hey, do you want to come for a week of volunteering on the island?

Why, of course I want!!

Continue reading

The 5 best hostels of New Zealand (+ Mackenzie bonus)

Today’s article is a bit different from the usual posts… a bit more touristy, if you will! If you are not interested, please scroll down to the last section, there’s a surprise 😉

You know I had a van in New Zealand, in which I drove kilometers on roads and tracks and slept countless nights under the stars. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? In many respects, it was; the flexibility I had was appreciable, for I could stop wherever I wanted (kinda) and be close to birds and views for sunrise and sunset. That said, my ride was a simple one, and while the bed was comfy enough, I was not protected well against the weather. If it rained, I had to get wet to eat anything. I was often cold. Oh, and I didn’t have a shower! All this to say that, even though it gave me freedom, life on the road was also tough sometimes.

Mackenzie Country, before it started to rain. Scroll down for more!

Continue reading