Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Labour Day hike

Today is Labour Day in New Zealand, and in an effort to take full advantage of a free day off work, Jake and I went across the harbour for a hike up above Days Bay. We've had some fantastic weather this weekend with highs around 15 degree C (60ish F).

Our hike involved about an hour of climbing through the woods -- whew! Then followed the ridge for a while before descending back down to near water level. We saw some cool plants and wildlife along the way, including several of these birds (above) and a ton of these ferns (below). An unfurling fern frond, called a Koru, is one of the most common Maori symbols we see, and it symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. And of course the fern itself is probably the most common NZ symbol.

We saw so many beautiful ferns during our walk. This is another variety (below), although I can't tell you which. A better blogger would know her ferns. Sorry.

They say New Zealand doesn't have any poisonous snakes or spiders or really anything that will bite or hurt you (you'll find all of that in Australia, we're told). But when this little kitty came walking out of the bush near the high point of our walk today, Jake advised me not to pet him as he could be carrying something we don't want to pick up. Jake couldn't help but show him a little love, but he did so cautiously by petting him with a stick. What can I say? My husband is practical and has a big heart.

Oh look, I captured a birdie in this shot across the harbour. I took this shot right when kitty came out of the bush. We're facing back toward our home, which is somewhere near the highest hill (below, right-centerish).

I know it was only a 2 1/2 hour hike, but I was pretty worn out afterward. We'll be going on several more of these in the coming weekends because we have a three-day hike through Abel Tasman National Park in December. We'll be camping and carrying all our equipment and food (and wine, obviously) the whole time, so I need a bit more practice. Can't wait!



Phil said...

The bird in your first photo is the NZ native wood pigeon, which Maori name "kereru". Considered a prized food delicacy, they were once hunted to near extinction. But now they are totally protected, and their numbers are rising again.

jamie said...

Thanks Phil! We were wondering about the birds.

Yer Mum said...

That sure sounds like a great 3-D Labour Day weekend. I know how Jake likes felines, wonder he didn't take it home. Glad you guys are enjoying your home surroundings once again.

A said...

Ain't no way that is a kereru! Have you SEEN those things! they weigh more than a mac truck! they can't even clear the tree tops let alone soar majestically over the ocean! i think it is a hawk, but most likely it is just another sea gull.

Phil said...

With respect "A"... I was referring to the bird sitting on the branch in Jamie's first photo, not the one in flight. This first bird IS a kereru, with its blue/green plumage and distinctive white "pinafore" chest and underside. This bird is no more a hawk or seagull than I am the Wizard of Oz!!