3 Mar 2012

Travel Review: Auckland, North Island, New Zealand - Day 2

I wanted to see the native New Zealand animals while I was here; so decided the best way to capture these natives would be to pay a visit to the Auckland Zoo. 

Originally, I was expecting it to be smaller than the Melbourne Zoo but I was proven wrong within the first ten minutes. The place is huge and with a great back drop of sub tropical reserve. But I only wanted to see the New Zealand animals at Te Wao Nui. 

First, I went to 'The Coast' and saw the Sea Lions and Penguins. It was interesting watching them swim in the water, they were very big. Then I went to 'The Islands' to see the tuataras. I found out that the name 'tuatara' is Maori for 'spiky back', which makes sense. They are also believed to have survived the dinosaur times. I tracked down to the kea and blue ducks at 'The High Country' enclosure. I couldn't get any good photos of the kea because they were on top of the tall rocks. The blue ducks weren't as interesting as the other New Zealand animals. The area to see the blue ducks was quite small so I didn't stay for long. I had a look around at 'The Forests' and saw the native birds from the look out. I could only see one species and I forgot what it was. 

After ten minutes searching for birds, I heard an announcement that the zoo keepers were going to feed the kea so I decided to delay my kiwi visit for the keas being fed. Kea are very intelligent, some people may mistake them for being purely evil because they like collecting things such as rubber on cars and tent fabric, they also steal shoes and bite sheep. It was very funny watching them eat because the zoo keepers were having a chat while feeding, then a kea would tipped over a bucket and started eating the food without the zookeepers realising it. I took some good shots of the kea but I thought it was about time that I saw Aotearoa's official animal, the kiwi.

On the way to the kiwi, the eels were a bit alarming with a Caution: "Eels can cause a painful bite" sign next to them. 

The kiwi enclosure was dark due to their nocturnal nature.  I couldn't see them but after a while when the eyes adjusted the kiwi were there as usual away from the spectators poking around. It was very hard to take a photo of one; they would walk aross dimmed out areas but ran very fast arcoss and lit up ground. So, I spend about half an hour painfully trying to take photos, I did manage take some good shots. 

At around this time hunger stuck and slowed me down so, I aheaded to Darwin's cafe. I had a kumara and cashew pie with chips. Not bad for a first timer.

There were no tigers in the enclosure but I did see one in a cage-like bridge near it. V lined to see the servals - not sight of them... some keen photograher was all set up there but didn't seem to be having much luck, then the cheetahs - who as usual looked content with their lot in lfe, the springboks and rhinos were avoiding each other, the lions were or seemed to be mating and finally the giraffes as usual feed his face. On the way out, the red panda made an appearance. 

At the giftshop, I bought a tuatara necklace, a kiwi badge and a red panda poster because it was only $3. The way back home, took scenic route via the Auckland Sky Tower and the Harbour Bridge, I took some great photos of the city behind the water on the harbour bridge. 

Each day I'm here I am trying to learn a new Maori phrase. So far I know 'Kei te pehea koe?' and 'Ka pai'. I already knew 'Kia Ora' and 'Ko Jesse aho' in Australia because of my kiwi friends. 

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