(Part of the Pigalina does new things series)
Mr Pigalina’s Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and our niece went to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary and gave mixed reports. “It was beautiful” (the elder’s view), “It was boring you couldn’t even see anything” (teenager’s view). It turns out they never left the visitor’s centre/cafe so no wonder they didn’t see anything! Had they left and gone for a walk around the massive sanctuary they would have seen some fantastic native birds up close. As you enter through the security gate you must check your bags for stowaway mice, once inside the predator proof fence there are a number of trails you can walk. There is a new tuatara house near the entrance and we were lucky enough to spot this tiny fellow, one of two.
In the bank at the side of the path to the tuatara house were lots of little holes which were made by Kiwi foraging for worms. We learnt this fact while eavesdropping on a guided tour (“They’re trying to learn for free”). Scattered around the trails are feeding stations which were very popular with the Bellbirds and Tuis while we were there.
They have little “hoppers” at each feeding station for the heavier Kaka to jump on to open. There were also a number of tiny Fantails (or Piwakawaka), my favourites, flitting about.
The sanctuary is a lovely, affordable, day out and I intend to go back and go on the longest walk, past New Zealand’s tallest tree. The visitor’s centre is made from recycled shipping containers and uses rainwater to flush the toilets, in the spirit of “eco”. There is also a giftshop fully of lovely things and a cafe where you can sit and relax while taking in the view. You may not see any birds from there though, as Mr Pigalina’s family can attest.
(Here is a bonus video of the Bellbirds an Tuis).
(Native bird spotting tip! – If you are in Dunedin and want to see some Pukeko, head to the Green Island landfill, they’re everywhere!)
On my “Pigalina does new things” theme may I present Port Chalmers exploration!
Port Chalmers is Dunedin’s main port and main stop for the cruise ships that visit us. We have been many times before but usually we are passing through and don’t stray from the main street. Mr Pigalina has ancestors buried in Port Chalmers so I headed out one Saturday to photograph their headstones for my family tree. While I was there I decided to have a look around. As I headed down the hill from the cemetery I stopped at the Lady Thorn Rhododendron Dell. Unfortunately I was too late for the Rhododendron flowers so I will have to go back when it is all in bloom. The Dell is in an old quarry and there is a lookout platform providing a good vantage point over the town.
I am sure this is usually a lovely, peaceful, spot but on this particular day two ENORMOUS cruise ships were in port and there was a relentless honking that could be heard all over the hillside and down in the street. BEEEEEP BOOOOOP, BEEEEEP BOOOOP, BEEEEP BOOOOOP. If that happens every time one is in port it must be a nightmare for the people who live there. It was interesting to see the ships though, as they were gigantic.
Below the dell is the Iona Church built 1871-72, further down the hill is Chicks Hotel – reportedly haunted and now a music venue. The main street is largely full of cafes and “vintage” stores but is thriving thanks to the cruise ships. A couple of years ago we attended the first Port Chalmers Seafood festival which looks set to return next year. You will also find a small museum that has mainly maritime exhibits, including some of the items taken by Scott on his expedition to the South Pole. On the hill opposite the dell there is another lookout where Mr Pigalina and I discovered a sculpture garden (the Hotere Garden). The garden houses four sculptures, this one is ‘They do cut down the poles that hold up the sky’ by Shona Rapira Davies.
So, not a very comprehensive look at Port Chalmers but a bit of an overview to get you started and, hopefully, this is the start of me getting back to my blog. The weather has been too good for sitting inside on a computer!
Well, here’s an exciting way to start my new year of blogging. I am sitting on my bed, looking expectantly out of the window, waiting for the AA to arrive. The Pigalinas are late for work due to a flat battery. While car issues are nothing new I am shoe-horning this post under the “new experiences” heading because I have finally joined the AA. I was a Youth member back when I was 16 (and with my first car I certainly needed to be!) but no amount of keys locked inside or flat batteries since no longer qualifying for the youth discount has been enough to make me fork out for the membership fee. Until now. You see, there is absolutely no way that we can sort this out ourselves without calling on family members and making them late for work too. My car is an automatic and Toyota, in their wisdom, have decided that you cannot take the car out of park unless the car is on. So, my plan when I hopped in this morning and noticed that the door had been slightly open allowing the door light to drain the battery (yes, that old chesnut) was to roll onto the road and worry about jump starting it after work. Except it won’t move and Mr Pigalina’s car is trapped in behind. The buses from our house go once every hour and besides, who has cash for a bus these days? So, I wait to be rescued having spent the last of my birthday money on the AA in order for them to come out and allow us to spend the day at work (fun).
Fun fact – turns out you CAN put the car in neutral with no power. Would have saved myself $195 if I could have read the Japanese writing under the over-ride button.
Those who follow Pigalina’s Palace will know that I started out long ago reviewing movies and moaning about working in retail. Then, 6 years ago when I got a job in a government department, I abandoned my beloved blog for a while as we are super tightly bound by the Privacy Act. Anything that can be deemed to identify an individual is a breach, and therefore a paddling. Also a firing.
So, when I discovered the 365 day photo challenge I latched onto it as a way to keep on bloggin’. Now my 365 days have come to an end and I am kind of in limbo. A theme kept me on track and meant that I updated more regularly but I need one with less commitment than an update everyday. Sometimes I have days where literally nothing of note happens but I still had to try and make a photo out of it. I propose that this year’s theme will be “Pigalina Does New Things”. It will help me look at my life in a different light as they may be big and they may be small – it will also encourage me to try new experiences.
Well, here is the end of my 365 day photo challenge (which actually turned out to be 367 what with it being leap year and with us having the extra December 28th when we crossed the International Date Line).
We spent New Years Eve exploring some more; met some friendly fish about 10 metres from the shore; chatted with fellow travellers as the sun went down; and then promptly fell asleep around 11pm after the lights on our part of the beach were turned off.
Here’s to 2013.
Rarotonga is only 32km around so scooter travel is very popular. There was to be no bus on New Years day and, after a VERY packed bus ride where we thanked our lucky stars it wasn’t roasting hot, we decided to hire a scooter to explore. It was fantastic and we were so glad that we did – we ended up extending our hire until the end of the holiday. We zipped around the back road dodging the coconuts, chickens, stray dogs and cats, goats, pigs and oblivious old men – SO MUCH FUN.
This is Tangaroa (God of the Sea and Fertility) celebrating Christmas in Rarotonga. It was odd to see Santa and tinsel in such a tropical place!
(He was wearing a red skirt today, but he is usually not so modest. He is the god of fertility after all…)