From Boxing day until the end of the summer holidays , at the beginning of February, finding uncrowded campsites on a beach near Auckland can be challenging, so we decide to head north of Whangarei for a 3 night new year expedition to Aroha Island. It doesn't appear to be an island as you hardly notice the concrete causeway attaching it to the mainland, but it is another predator free area and the big attraction for us is the amazing night time entertainment. . . . . .Kiwi spotting.
These elusive flightless birds are nocturnal and very shy, on top of that there just aren't many of them, so the possibility of seeing one in the wild is very exciting!
Kiwis make up for their poor eyesight by having a strong sense of smell and sound, so no fly repellent or old socks and no squeaky shoes or giggling. . . Armed with a red flashlight we head off into the darkest depths of the woods,. . . along with 100 other people.
Its actually quite hard not to giggle when you here the thunder of little children crashing through the woods waving their 40000 lumina search lights in our direction.yelling "over there!, over there !" so we spent the evening pretending to be kiwis rustling in the undergrowth and made some little people very happy!
The next evening was a different story, we planned our route carefully and set out just as darkness fell, found a spot in the woods and sat in silence waiting. . . . First we heard the distant call of the male Kiwi and then the reply , a high pitched screech from the female nearby. Our torches were hardly powerful enough to light up our feet. . .we sat holding our breaths, deadly still, trying not to smell. . . .and then, the subtle crack of a twig . . . . a snuffle. . . . .and then. . .. a Kiwi emerged from the undergrowth right in front of us!
Kiwis are not very photogenic, so I didn't waste any memory card%$£@*&()^