Stewart Island

Stewart Island and offlying Ulva Island are just primeval. There is vegetation here that is older than the dinosaurs. Although just an hour by ferry, a day trip is not enough. We've just walked to Maori Beach and hitched a lift in the back of a pick up - just like the rest of the Pacific. They have parrots and parakeets and loads of other birds, but we've still not seen a Kiwi in the wild, although we are promised they are here.
 
Maori Beach, this really is the furthest we will be from home.
 
The chain, linking the 'anchor' of Stewart Island to the 'canoe' of South Island.
 
 
 
Having spent an evening sitting quietly waiting, this is the closest we think we are likely to come to a Kiwi!
 
 
A week here would be great, but sadly we only have 2 nights. There is so much to see and do in NZ that we feel we are in a big rush all the time. (hint to families/anyone - we are in North Island all January if anyone wants to visit - we have loads of info to plan a great trip over North or South islands)
Quote from a Stewart Islander 'I must get over to New Zealand sometime'.
 
Then we went to Ulva Island - a specially protected sanctuary with rodent/stoat trapping and a large area where the public are unable to go, walked down a marked track and Lo! a Kiwi, in the wild, in daylight. It legged it before we could get a decent pic though. We also saw a mollymawk, kaka, weka and many others, but Caroline has been so excited about the Kiwi, everyone we've met for two days has had the story - most New Zealanders we have spoken to have never seen one in the wild.
 
Mollymawk - a small albatross
 
Weka
 
 
We met a lovely family who were on a 4 generation break to Stewart Island and were lucky enough to be invited to stay on David and Rosie's farm near Invercargill. After a lovely trip on the ferry, we were shown where to see the Tuatara by Chris, one of their boys. These are living fossils, which have done no evolving for 220 million years and while seeing them (in a zoo) is no problem, spotting them move is much more difficult.
 
Having seen a Kiwi, we asked David if he would be kind enough to take us looking for possums, as we had no luck with Steve earlier. We might have had a glimpse, but no confirmed sighting and an attempt to set five traps for the pests resulted in a big 0. Despite looking for the Kiwi less time than possums, the Kiwi search was easier and more successful!