Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Otorohanga and more activity

We stayed an extra night at the Kiwi camping park so we could catch up with internet housekeeping and accounts, so we took ourselves off into town to the library, where they have free wi-fi, picked a table in the corner and spent a good three hours downloading, uploading and checking things (including a speeding fine I’d got – 61kph in a 50kph limit near Dunedin $80 fine! I have been so careful as well, must have just missed the 50 limit sign! Ah well, at least there’s no points on my license!).

'Stuffed' Kiwi I'm afraid
P.M. we went to the Bird sanctuary park right next door to our campsite and saw the Kiwi’s, weka, bellbird, Tui, Morepork (owl), Kakariki, quails, Campbell Island Teal (very endangered – it’s a duck that can’t fly), Tuatara (lizard), gekkos and more. It was great, we saw the Kiwi feeding time and the most active was a very rare female Great Spotted Kiwi (also the largest), she was strutting around, poking her beak deep into the soil looking for grubs and, at feeding time, 
Morepork owl (More pork is the sound it makes!)
attacked the girl who took in the food, jumping up sinking her beak into her trousers, running between her legs and really being aggressive. She poked her beak into the bowl, splashed the food around and then ran at top speed round her enclosure, looking very odd. It was highly amusing. No photos I’m afraid, they are forbidden (although I noticed one old chap sneak a couple of pictures in, but I was being good!).

The rest of the sanctuary was equally as good and we spent a good 3 hours in there, all for $16 (we got 20% off for staying 2 nights in the campground - and she only charged us for one person – but don’t tell anyone!).

A Tuatara trying to hide in the undergrowth
Look at this cutie Kakariki about to step on Jackies hand (then it bit her, she jumped and the bird flew away!)


Jackie getting ready to climb. This was a 25m high crag
Today we set off towards Waitomo, not to see the world famous glow worm caves, but to climb on the privately owned crag that Bryce Martin told us about. We had emailed the owner, Paul Hunt to ask his permission and received his confirmation back. It’s free, but he likes to know as he takes groups there. We arrived around 10:30 this morning and the rock is layered limestone, giving excellent holds and climbing. It’s all mid-grade stuff (grade 14 to 18) with some easier (down to 9!) up to about 23. 14 to 18 is just us and we did some great grade 16’s that were absolutely magnificent, quite vertical, with small overhangs, but with fantastic holds and all fully bolted, 
This was an easier, not so high (9m) crag, all around grade 15
giving a great exposed feeling, but with positive holds (did wonder just how attached some of it was, but nothing moved, so we just pulled on those blocks with great holds and hoped they stayed put!). We did 8 routes and there are a huge number more that look equally as fabulous, so we’re going back tomorrow!

Tonight we’ve stayed in a free campsite (the first genuinely free site we’ve stayed at), a minutes walk from the crag. There’s no-one else here (so far), with just a toilet (a bit grubby) – that B had to mend so it flushed, it obviously hasn’t for a while! and a sink to wash up in, but it’s so isolated it’s great. 
Tonights campsite (note the tea and cakes!)
No traffic noise (save for the occasional car that goes past), just the sounds of the birds (who seem to have gone to sleep now, as its getting dark). Still sitting outside typing as its quite warm, but now struggling to see, so might have to go in! Wait a minute, haven’t finished the wine yet! Life is so hard!

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