My experience of ‘In Zid’ is sadly drawing to a close. I’m sitting in Christchurch airport with a few hours to kill before my flight. It’s been an incredible experience, and I’ve really got to appreciate the efforts the New Zealand government puts towards conservation of its fragile ecosystem. The variety and richness of wildlife here has really fascinated me. Many a time I’d be walking through a forest and stop to listen to a birdcall I’d not heard before. I’ve got enough footage of exotic (to me, at least) birds and other critters to make a nature documentary, and some great photos.
In the short time I’ve been here I’ve become quite an expert on local fauna, recognising the calls of the tui and the bellbird, and spotting any number of other species.
Among the creatures I can claim to have seen are: fantail, New Zealand pigeon, kea, falcon, harrier, kingfisher, tui, silvereye, spoonbill, weka, albatross, New Zealand fur seal, dusky dolphin, Hector’s dolphin, yellow-eyed penguin, sperm whale, and sheep.
Sadly I didn’t see a Kiwi, although I think I may have heard one once.
It amazes me how easily you can come across animals in their native habitat here without paying a cent. After our coastal nature tour in Kaikoura, we stumbled across a seal colony beneath the roadside cliffs on our way north, and later, in Moeraki, we encountered penguins and sealions just metres away from us. It’s great to see these creatures living in the wild, (mostly) unaffected by human interference.
I’m envious of everything New Zealand has to offer. I can even tolerate the lack of free wifi. Somehow or other, I have to find the time and money to return to these islands.