Fri 12 Feb 2010 22:20
Over the past few days we have been looking at various things as we head back up the South Island.
There was the White Heron Sanctuary near Whataroa, where we were taken in a fast jet boat to the Marine Reserve and then a short walk along a broadwalk to a lookout, where we could watch the Herons feeding their young.  This is the only nesting area of the White Heron in NZ.  There are only 140 of them anyway so a rare and beautiful sight.
Their nesting ground was shared by Spoonbills and Shags,all getting on with the task of bringing up thier babies
Here is a witty little message, which sserved to remind us that despite the rain we are seeing a great country
Then on to the Pancake Rocks - Punakaiki.  The layers in the rock look like a stack of pancakes, (confused me for a while!)
where we were rewarded with a sunset - if you look closely you can almost see a green flash there in the water!
An intersesting chat with a farmer in the Nelson region (Lorraine his family farm in Skirlaugh)!
told us of a walk to see the source of the River Riwaka.  The river emerges from a pool at the bottom of 'holey' limestone and granite
hill/mountain where water has filtered through all to emerge at the same place, this is a sacred place for the Maori people.
In the mountain some caves to explore (with a guide of course).  The Ngarua Caves.
Bob the builder hats were an essential part of the trip, as you can see it's very narrow staircase to come out of the caves
this is because it is a natural tomo (hole!) through which water, air and animals enter.  Hence in the caves we saw a skeleton of a Moa,
long since extinct but intact skeletons have been found in the caves as they fell down the tomo(s) unable to get out again.
Also on the way we did a spot of Kayaking in the Abel Tasman - lots of seal pups on the rocks around Tonga Island but a bit too bleak to show up well on the photos unfortunately.
These arches, the Tonga Arches, are part of the mainland coast.