Monday, April 1, 2013

Return to Aotearoa

East Cape, North Island, NZ (from google)
After the high-adrenaline brain-buster that was our 15,000+ km Aussie roadtrip, I flew from Brisbane to Auckland for 2 weeks of downtime. Some of you may know that I lived in NZ for most of 2008, so this trip aimed to catch up with old friends and just RELAX for a bit. I didn't take a single photograph (others did, but I haven't got around to acquiring them yet), and only pulled out the binoculars a couple of times since there is little on mainland NZ I haven't seen already. Since my time in 2008 was mostly centered around the South Island, I took this time to explore the eastern half of the North Island--from Cape Palliser in the south, all the way up to the East Cape, and back around the Bay of Plenty to the Firth of Thames. The weather was absolutely pristine, and the company even better. In many ways, the East Cape region feels like the "Real New Zealand" where little Maori boys ride through town bareback, the sparkling seas party shadowed by the Eden-esque Pohutukawa trees, with the smell of grilled crayfish hanging in the breeze.

And yes I did manage to see a couple of nice birds along the way. New for my New Zealand life-list were: COMMON GREENSHANK, MARSH SANDPIPER, GREATER SAND-PLOVER, WHITE-WINGED TERN, and COMMON TERN, while it was also nice to reacquaint myself with old friends like the NORTH ISLAND KOKAKO, the tiny RIFLEMAN, rambunctious NZ FANTAILS, flame-winged KAKAs, and the rare SHORE PLOVER (my first adult male).

It was the perfect way to retreat from the intense (albeit thrilling) Aussie ordeal. By the time I flew back to Perth, I was ready for the next big adventure. 

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