Tuesday, 12 December 2017

New Zealand Part 1 - Bay of Islands

We started the New Zealand leg of our trip by flying in to Auckland from Sydney. Not much to say about Auckland! It's a city, plus the weather wasn't great, but it does have a bridge!
and a Sky Tower,
that gives some nice views.
From Auckland we travelled north to the Bay of Islands, staying in a lovely town called Paihia. We stopped to look at possibly the oldest tree in New Zealand circa 2000 years old, it's been named Tane Mahuta, I won't go into the legend that goes with it, its's quite lengthy, but you could always google it!
 One of the marvellous ferns found in the forest around where the tree grows.

The following day we went on a boat trip around the Islands, we were in fact extremely lucky! Our boat broke down before we could get on it. Believe it or not for us it was a great bonus. The tour we were booked on did a tour of the islands, with a stop at a couple of them to go for a walk then back to Paihia. There was another boat departing at the same time that had spare capacity, this was a tour of the islands with Dolphin watching, much more our cup of tea (or should that be coffee?!)
Departing Paihia,
 Some Pied Cormorant,
 Australasian Gannet.

So a few birds about as we cruised out, but then came the highlight a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins,
I took tons of photos, so hard to decide what to put on the blog!

The boat we were on is the only boat licensed to interact with the Dolphins, so if we had been on the other boat it would have just sailed on past the pod, as I said our luck was in that day.

The rest of the trip was mostly scenic until we reached the hole in the rock, when despite a bit of a swell the skipper managed to back us in, she was brilliant her dolphin knowledge was excellent and pretty good at driving a boat too!
The hole from a distance, the sea looks quite calm, but looks are deceiving!
 Little Black Cormorant,
 Getting closer!
 I think a Buller's Shearwater, getting a photo was difficult at the time as the boat was pitching about a bit and trying to get focus was nigh on impossible.

From the 'Hole' we cruised back, stopping at a little town called Russell where we decided to get off and later catch the ferry back to Paihia.
Russell Beach,
 Red-billed Gull
 and some interesting signage!

Next day we went for a walk along the coast up to and past the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, another subject worth googling!
As we left the hotel a New Zealand Pigeon put in a short appearance, wrong lens unfortunately!

Our walk was brilliant, saw loads...
White-faced Heron,
 New Zealand (Sacred) Kingfisher,
 Red-billed Gull,
 Kelp Gull,
 Variable Oystercatcher,

 Californian Quail,
 Heinz 57 Ducks (Mallard),
 Song Thrush,
 Red-billed Gull,
  New Zealand (Sacred) Kingfisher,
 New Zealand Grey Fantail,

 Caspian Tern,
 Common Myna

Quite a few birds I didn't get photos of;
Welcome Swallow, Silvereye, Blackbird, Starling, Pied Cormorant, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

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