Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Stewart Island could be considered New Zealand’s “third” island, lying a one hour ferry ride further South off the coast of Bluff. The size of Stewart Island is that of Singapore. Singapore has a population of 6 million. Stewart Island has a population of 400. Only 1% of the land is inhabited. So to say that there is a lot of nature to explore here would be an understatement.
The native Kiwi bird is a highly endangered nocturnal creature that is best spotted on Stewart Island since their population is between 16 and 17,000, the most of anywhere in the world. The biggest draw for me personally to travel to Stewart Island was to hopefully encounter one of these rare creatures.
Around 10:40pm, Mom and I began our quest to spot a real live Kiwi bird. With my head lamp and a bottle of red wine, we started up Main Street away from the township of Oban towards the bush line. At the street corner, we parked it against some towing contraption near a Kiwi bird crossing sign. This had to be a good sign. Literally. I cut off my light, and we sat quietly in the clouded dark night. For at least 40-45 minutes.
I turned to Mom. “I wonder how stupid we look.” We laughed. “I bet this whole Kiwi bird this is a conspiracy by the Kiwis (New Zealanders) to make all the tourists look like fools, and there’s camera hidden all around, and the locals are all at home make fun of us on their TVs.” More laughing. What a great hoax. Do these goofy looking birds that the natives so lovingly fawn over actually exist? It’s a legitimate question. You very rarely meet someone who has physically ever seen one. We wandered up the street some more, but to no avail. After about an hour and a half, we decided to call it a night and give up the Elmer Fudd impressions. “Be vewy quiet. I’m hunting Kiwis!” Today’s picture of the day is of our happy hour with the Kaka birds on our hotel balcony.