Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Drive to Wellington, New Zealand

I am finally getting to my last few pictures of my journey across the north island of New Zealand. The day had low clouds obscuring the mountains with patches of drizzly rain.

I went through several towns that looked like this with just a few older buildings on each side of the street. It felt a little like dropping into the past where life moved at a slower pace.

This is Kapiti island, just off shore from Paraparaumu, it is a protected native forest so there is no outside plant or animal life allowed.

Heading into the Wellington area, looked so much like California. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I was so drawn to New Zealand, I have lived in California more years than any where else.

I swear this could have been near where I used to live in Los Angeles.

I know parts of northern California that look just like this.

My last day in Wellington was spent going to Zealandia, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a plant and animal reserve that is being restored to all native species.

Tucked in the branches below is a Tui or Parson bird. It has a lovely song and is also a fabulous mimic.

Some more lichen and moss.

This tagged lizard is a Tuatara, I was so excited to see one of these off the side of the path on our walk through the preserve. It was a pretty good sized lizard, probably 18 inches head to tail. They are considered a living fossil since they were around with the dinosaurs. New Zealand was unpopulated by humans or mammals for millennia, until first the Maori's arrived about 400 years ago then the European settlers in the 1800's.

I had a layover in the Auckland airport before heading home. I grabbed some lunch and finished it off with a lemon meltaway biscuit and a flat white served in a porcelain cup, not a paper to go cup like we so often have in the US. I think it is good practice; to stop, sit down and drink a beverage, instead of always doing it on the run, I am going to try to do that more often.

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