ADVENTURE FIFTY TWO: Saving the best 'til last...

Published on
April 22, 2022

When we picked this camp ground, it was because it was conveniently located for our itinerary, looked nice online and we thought it might be a good place to stay nearing the end of our trip. What we didn’t know was the following:

The camp ground itself is set on two hectares of land, surrounded by native bush with river boundaries on two sides, providing a beautiful area to camp, a swimming hole, a river full of eels (which we know doesn’t sound too appealing at first but honestly, they were astonishing to watch), and at night, glow worms and Kiwi’s calling in the forest all around.

But that’s not the best bit... the camp ground is situated only 5 kms outside of Trounson Park and for a small fee the hosts at the camp will give you a self guided night pack, complete with a powerful infra red torch to go and explore the park after dusk. They will educate you on where togo, what to look for and listen for and what you might expect to see....and all in the hope of seeing .... a Kiwi in the wild!

The Kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand and is the nickname or name behind many things here in NZ. It is in fact the National icon of New Zealand. There are 5 recognised species of the Kiwi bird, all of which are endangered and could soon be extinct. The Department of Conservation alongside many other groups are working hard to reverse the decline of the Kiwi and create a more Kiwi safe habitat across the country. With the decline in numbers along with the Kiwi being nocturnal and very shy, it makes a sighting of the Kiwi for tourists very unlikely.

There are certain ‘nocturnal houses’ and parks where you may have a chance to see a Kiwi, but to see one in the wild is a real highlight.

We set off at 7.30pm, in the dark with our infra red torch to the Trounson Park, with no expectations at all, knowing that there was a 50%chance of seeing something or not. In our 90 day itinerary we have seen plenty of Kiwi signs and protected areas, but not once have we seen a Kiwi. We have heard a couple of Kiwi calls at night time though in a few places.

There is a 1.4 km boardwalk through the forest and as you shine your torch up you can see the giant Kauri trees looming above you. About 10 mins in, we heard it...the distinct Kiwi call. We stood very quietly and just listened, searched with our torches and came across, not 1 but 2 Kiwi’s!Amazing! We couldn’t believe it. They must have been about 10 metres away from us and stuck around for 3 or 4 mins before scuttling away. We tried to take a photo but to no avail. Too far away and too dark. But we had seen them! What a buzz. We carried on for another hour or so, searching for more, listening and seeing various other wildlife including giant snails, weta’s, a possum, an eel and some fish. Nearing the end of the boardwalk, another crunching of leaves underfoot and low and behold another Kiwi! We really couldn’t believe our luck.What a way to end our exploratory trip. So, no photos of the Kiwi, but here are some of the other highlights of the Kauri coast camp and forest.





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