Day 77 on the Road
The Wildlife Sanctuary of Zealandia!
Today we are checking out Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Wellington as part of our 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand!
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Today we are going to Zealandia which is Wellington’s wild side.
Today we are going to Zealandia which is only about 15 minutes out of the city centre of Wellington and it is a wildlife sanctuary for native New Zealand birds. So we are heading to the i-SITE and hop on in the shuttle again it’s winter here so we’re the only ones here one more time. It’s just priceless to have all of those tours just for us. We arrive and we see the predator proof fence which we saw at Mount Maungatautari we just stick to the main route that goes along the lakeside and along this route there’s bird feeding stations where we can see the birds so this is like the best route to take if you’re just visiting for the day and you’re not prepared for a hike but you still want to see some birds. But sure enough, we can’t miss the colony of shags that are by the lakeside just below us. And we just watch the shags just doing their thing. Now, it’s not like we’ve never seen shags before we’ve seen quite a lot in New Zealand like even in Auckland they just hang out on the waterfront there’s quite a lot here but they’re still quite an unusual looking bird so they’re quite cool to watch.
So then we keep on walking and there is a big sign on the next door that we’re going to pass saying don’t let the takahe out. So apparently those two takahe have been a little bit cheeky bastards and trying to escape quite often. their population is about 300 only. Those one here don’t seem to be too afraid they are pretty friendly I guess they are pretty used to humans.
Turns out, the bird feeder his name is John he is keen to give us a bit of a tour during the rest of our walk. They’re volunteers here at Zealandia so he’s obviously really passionate about the place and about the New Zealand native bush and the New Zealand native birds so he wants to tell us all about it and who are we to say no?!
And along the way, along the path, at one point we see a little black robin and the black robin are very small and incredibly cute bird. And this one seems to be really intrigued by my GoPro. It hops around it’s really inquisitive it’s just like looking at us. It was really intrigued and oh my God I keep saying this about every single bird but I could just watch the robin all day.
Back in the old days when the moa were you know walking about, the North Island robin would have a look at where its feet had trodden because it upturns the earth and upturns like worms and things for the robin to eat so that is why it’s following us today because it can hear our footsteps and it wants to see if we’ve upturned any food for it.
I have to say the birds at Zealandia have a very nice indulgent life. Pretty good for them, I mean, they deserve it after all the hardship they’ve been through you know coming close to extinction and all that. So yeah, good on them.
Then we arrive at the first feeding station where we see some kaka, tui, black birds and that’s really cool to actually see all those birds in action and not really too afraid. This is not a bird feeding station, this is a bird feast right here. It’s just really cool to watch and they’re there and we can hear them all making crazy noises and we’re so close to the birds and they don’t even care that we’re here. We did not expect to see this many birds in Zealandia. Obviously this place is meant to be where you see lots of birds but actually yeah we see shit loads of birds so it’s just a bonus.
There’s actually an exhibition in this building for Zealandia. It shows how New Zealand actually came to losing much of its wildlife and how pests reduced New Zealand’s lands to very little forest left how human migration basically effected the whole ecosystem of New Zealand and that is why it is necessary to have sanctuaries like this for native birds otherwise these native birds would not exist anymore. So all this is showing us the information and showing us how we can identify the birds that we see in Zealandia and it’s really good for people that literally know nothing about this place or know nothing about New Zealand’s natural ecosystem and it’s really interesting and probably one of the best places in New Zealand to learn about this sort of thing.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Wellington so we’re going to check out the city.