I got my first swimming fix of our trip today. It was perfect weather and we took the bus out to Mission Bay, the closest sandy beach to where we’re staying. It was busy but not heaving with everyone enjoying barbecues and family games once they’d had their dip in the sea.
Of course I couldn’t persuade Paul to join me for a swim… He was more interested in finding somewhere nice to eat later. We found a bar called De Fontein with speciality Belgium beers and lovely views over the harbour.
Today we visited Auckland Zoo. It’s a short bus ride from where we’re staying. There were no large crowds – not surprising I suppose, just a few days before Christmas.
It’s not a massive place, but well organised and we followed the circular route. We saw elephants having a dip in their pool and then spraying themselves with sand as a sun screen (Their version of the Kiwi ‘slip, slop, slap’..?)
The kiwi house itself – in a dark tunnel because the creatures are nocturnal was interesting.
– Once our eyes adjusted to the gloom we saw several kiwis darting about. They use their nostrils at the end of a very long bill to probe in the ground, sniffing out insects. I was surprised how quickly they moved. (Kiwis are an endangered species so you’d be very unlikely to see one in the wild).
New Zealand birds always fascinate me and it was good to have a chance to observe several species in the large walk-in aviaries with their back drop of lush vegetation. Amongst others we saw tuis
(with their distinctive tuft of white feathers at the neck) and bell birds, who have a charming song of chiming bells..
We discovered that Kiwis take the animals out of their cages or enclosures for walks round the zoo as part of their exercise regime(!)