We are staying at the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park tonight when we arrive we find out that these guys actually run a guided night walk we book straight onto that it sounds absolutely amazing because there is a very strong chance that we will see kiwi birds tonight.
This morning as soon as Laura wakes us she’s on a mission to explore the holiday park.
This is what holiday parks are all about.
And she got plenty of time on her hands cos today our activity only starts at night because we are gonna be looking for kiwi birds with the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park’s team.
Our walk tonight is in the top section here. There are no cut paths anywhere till here and the trail is very steep. The fence around the perimetre keeps the largest farm animals out but the small predators get access quite easily which we’ve got many.
When the birds are nesting, the female will lay one single egg. The egg is very very large, it is 80mm in diametre and 120mm in length and she lays it in a burrow underground 3 weeks after mating. Once she has done he job is complete and the male bird takes over the incubation process.
It takes that bird 3 months to incubate one egg.
And sure enough, as soon as we enter the forest Chris has found the trail of a kiwi bird already.[kiwi call sounds]
This very distinct call of the kiwi bird is unmistakable and with Chris’ powerful red lamp and his knowledge on finding kiwi birds we actually find out straight away scurrying in the forest. Unfortunately, we don’t pick that one up on camera but it’s super exciting to be actually able to see kiwi birds in the wild.
But a type of wild animal that’s not fast enough to escape our camera lens is the kauri snail which is one of the largest snails in New Zealand.
A very small one. They will grow up to 8cm – 80mm and they’ll live in excess of 20 years.
The fores that we’re in at the moment is the Trounson Kauri Park and we are doing the Trounson Loop Walk which usually in the day time takes about 45 minutes to complete but because we’re taking it super slowly and trying to catch ourselves another glimpse of another kiwi bird, it takes us a lot lot longer.
This was on the tree when I first started, when I took over from a chap called Herb Isles and he had it for 12 years and he said it was on the tree when he first started. It hasn’t grown much.
As the name suggests the Trounson Kauri Park is one of the best places in New Zealand to see New Zealand’s largest trees and that little plant right there that Chris was showing us just before is just a baby kauri tree and it’s even taken years to grow to that size. Usually its take hundreds of years to grow to the massive sizes that they usually grow to and what you see in this forest.
Still on the hunt for kiwi, we find a kiwi burrow.
The male bird will be down there with the eggs. When he leaves at night to feed he blocks up the hole with leaves and twigs and then he marks the entrance with his feces. They’ve got very good sense of smell and they use that to track back to where they came from.
As we are heading back on the track to see more kiwi birds to see today or tonight, Chris is telling us a lot about how the forest eco-system works together it’s quite interesting to learn how every species basically depends on one another. And speaking of species, we arrive in front of one of the most interesting species of New Zealand, which is called the weta.
The weta are actually the largest type of insects that you can find in New Zealand, they are fascinating creatures. But again, we are here for the kiwi birds so we keep making sure that we listen for the call of the kiwi bird. Throughout the panic we actually get one extra kiwi birds but again, it’s so hard to film it and we only see a few rustling in the bushes with a camera, Goddam we were so close!
But we get plenty of opportunity to film a massive eel right before our eyes. The long finned eel is also native to New Zealand, there are also some crayfish, it’s quite amazing to see all those animals in the dark because under the cover of darkness they come out to feed and hunt.
As we are making our way back toward the van we can hear a lot of kiwi calls but sadly we don’t successfully catch one of camera for you today but this is the most successful kiwi bird tour that we’ve done so far in New Zealand with two sightings of kiwi birds in the wild.
It was absolutely amazing and a true testament to this trip – we got to see so much!
Laura and I are jumping back in the van and making our way toward the Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Park where we’re gonna be spending one more night before finally making it back to Auckland we have one more activity before our epic finale. And don’t miss this finale. I have been hyping it up for quite a while and honestly this is going to be delivering big time.