Day 86 on the Road
A Day on D’Urville Island
After staying the night, today we are exploring D’Urville Island with a 4WD safari, fishing and seeing the French Pass Whirlpools!
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Today we are finally exploring wild D’Urville Island.
This morning we waking up on the beautiful D’Urville Island Wilderness Resort. And as soon as we walk out of our cabin we see loads of birds including the tourist’s kiwi. I.e. the weka. The weka is a pretty common bird in New Zealand but tour guides think it’s hilarious to say it is a kiwi bird and all the tourists take photos of them.
But the weka bird is not grazing by itself, there is also a handful of chickens which are providing eggs for the D’Urville Island Wilderness Resort. And on top high up in the trees are a ton of different birds including tuis, bellbird and a lot of other species. It’s very very noisy on D’Urville Island despite the fact there is only about five people living there.
Wildlife usually thrive on New Zealand islands because they tend to be pest free meaning that there’s less competition for food. And we can hear some really crazy noises coming from the bellbird and the tui bird they sound like they are robots from Star Wars or something.
As you can expect form island life, we are starting the day at a very slow pace. We are sitting by the shore watching the stunning sounds minding their own business the waves crashing on the rocks and basically just nature doing it’s thing. We also take the time to sit by the fire and chat a little bit with Ash which is one of our hosts. He’s explaining what we’re going to be doing today which is taking his 4×4 all the way on top of the mountain behind the lodge which will give us 360 degrees view all around. Laura and I are stoked.
So Ash is getting us to jump on board his 4×4 truck. It is the most beated up 4×4 truck i’ve ever seen in my life and he is not taking it easy on it. He is super super fast on the cliff side and believe it or not guys, the footage you are seeing right now is not fast-forward it’s the actual speed he was driving on this narrow gravel road.
This was crazy a bumpy ride like non-other.
This track is usually meant to be a walking track but because we ate so much breakfast Ash has offered to take us up in this truck. Which we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into and as you can see from our reactions it is madness.
How is this car still going?
As we are getting higher on the mountain, the views are getting grander and grander. And finally we arrive at the viewpoint which is amazing.
The views around us are awesome, we can see the vegetation surrounding us of D’Urville Island, and then out in the distance we can see the South Island where we were only just yesterday on French Pass and the Marlborough Sounds. Ash tells us that on a clear day views from up here go as far as the North Island.
It comes to no surprise that the car needs a few touch ups before we make our way back down the mountain.
Admittedly I was kind of s***ing my pants on the way up so I try to make up a couple of stories for Ash to drive a little slower on the way down but that didn’t really work and he’s driving even faster all the way back down to the lodge.
Ash even tells us that because back in the days he used to race cars he’s usually driving even faster on this road than often taking some air which I want to be no part of.
It’s just as crazy on the way down as it was on the way back up and I’m just laughing and bouncing around in the back. Robin is nervous as hell while Ash he’s just having a whale of a time and laughing like a maniac as he’s driving into trees, over trees and then eventually we get back to D’Urville Island in one piece which was pretty surprising.
We have a little bit of spare time before heading on the boat and making our way back to French Pass. Ash and Virginia have built themselves a little machine to get the boat down. i guess that when you are only two or three people on the island you need a lot of help to make sure that you can do everything that needs to be done there.
So they are bring the boat up to the pier, we are boarding putting our bags and we are off toward French Pass. But we have a couple of stops before being back on dry land.
Since we got a little bit of practice yesterday, we are going off fishing again to see who can get the biggest blue cod this time. Again it’s a bit of a battle with these guys.
It’s a bit of a battle to get this fish in but unfortunately I lose my fish but it looks like Robin has whopper. Finally he gets it out and he catches the biggest fish.
After I proudly win the fishing competition I am over the moon. I have never caught a fish myself before and catching one big like that I’m just stoked.
But Ash has another surprise for us and we are now making our way to the local seal colony. They are so cute. There are a couple of really cute New Zealand fur seals chilling out on the rocks.
From there, we are making our way to the famous French Pass Whirlpools. We’re in whirlpool central right now. We’re going to get swallowed up by the kraken. this is such a surreal place. Although we’re in the middle of the ocean there is a current as if we were in a river. We could almost white water rafting in a fishing boat right now.
It sort of feels like we’re in a movie like Pirates of the Caribbean. the boat is even swirling around in the whirlpools themselves.
The water’s trying to come through here, like if you tip a litre of water in a funnel, yeah, the litre of water doesn’t come out of the bottom. Ok so why is it coming trying to come here? This is an island and this is land and it’s all that area there and all that area there is water trying to come through here.
We arrive back in French Pass and Virginia is giving us a ride back toward Okiwi Bay before we start our trip tomorrow toward Nelson.
While Ash is telling us a story I am devising strategies right here. the first strategy is going to be to delay as much as possible getting back into the car so I’m asking him more questions about the views and all of that and making sure that we are really really late. And the second part of my strategy is going to bluntly lie and tell him that the gimble which is my stabiliser for the camera cannot handle high speed and he’s going to have to drive really slowly because that was too fast on the way in. The problem is that I am not a good lier. So Ash sees right through it and is like you know what? You little sh*t. You try to lye to me here you go. So he’s going downhill even faster than we’ve been going uphill.