The other day we passed through Westport and took some nice coastal walks through places like Cape Foulwind where I finally spotted my first wild kiwi bird. Unfortunately, the stupid British dudes from the tour bus scared it away before I could snap a photo. After a night of beating the girls in some card game called "Beanie" we got a full night's sleep in before heading to Punakaiki and taking another short hike along the west coast, checking out the pancake rocks (rock formations that resemble stacks of pancakes), and a smelly seal colony.
I've been blowing through New Zealand much too fast but I can't afford the time or money to take it slower. It's the sort of place that has so many incredible vistas that staring out the window is a joy. And sadly, that's how I've had to experience much of it.
Last night we made a stop at Lake Mahinapua. The Kiwi bus had organized a huge dinner for us. I definitely ate way too much. Check out the photo to see the plate piled with food. All of that went into my gut along with a second serving of venison. After dinner, the seventy or so of us went to a "fancy dress" party which I guess is what they call costume parties around these parts. I decided to wear a fancy dress. I'd fought a Thai boxer, climbed Mt. Fuji, gone swimming with dolphins... why not try dressing in drag? Regardless of not having shaved, I still made a pretty convincing girl which made the girls and boys uncomfortable. Mission accomplished.
After midnight, Carlien and I took a walk out to Lake Mahinapua to see the glowworms. These soft-bodied beetles have luminescent organs that emit light to attract mates. I remember how excited I was the first time I saw a firefly walking with my friend My in Queens (NY). Phosphorescent creatures are wild man. When we started on the path, there was pitch blackness in front of us and behind us. We had to follow the space in the trees above to know where the path went. Then, along the sides of the path, we'd start to see patches of undergrowth dimly lit. Crouching down, we took a closer look and found dozens of tiny dots of light. Carlien said they looked like fairies, I compared them to accent lights that light footpaths. Out on the lake, stars filled the sky. But soon, the cold chased us back to the hostel.
Early in the morning, we walked back out to the lake to see the morning mist roll across the water and the sun breathing warmth into the green around us. Another sleepy bus ride took us out to Pukekura for a peak into the touristy Bushman's Centre. We watched a video about the history of the deer population in NZ, fed some possum, and grabbed breakfast.
Finally, we ended up in Franz Josef Glacier Village. We took a quick look at the magnificent glacier that I will be climbing tomorrow, armed with spiky boots and two pick axes. Should be interesting.
Labels: New Zealand