worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.

25Dec/090

homeward bound

i will be heading home until mid february to say hello, drop off my camp equipment (way too much to carry!), and to work for a few.

looking forward to going home! and of course going back out again-look out costa rica!

love,

wei h.

25Dec/090

christchurch, new zealand

i was relieved to arrive in christchurch and return that rental car! whew! my heart pounded at certain times but in the end all was good.

christchurch was also full of amazing museums and a great botanical garden. also checked out the souvenir shops near the square-gift shopping time!

25Dec/091

“enkle doo very korna” buddies park, waimate, new zealand

gwen dempster-schouten runs an amazing show of buddies: wallabies galore, a pink-nosed possum, a mini pony, peacocks, and more wallabies (including baby!). she supplies visitors of this wonderland with a bag of wallaby snacks and detailed instructions on how to become friends with these fellers. she has been running this show for many years and only recently began charging an admission in order to pay for the wallaby food!

josh, the young kiwi hitchhiker that i picked up near moeraki, and i got to meet so many wallabies, including a blind wally and a tiny baby wally. we also made friends with a peacock, a tiny pony with a big mane, and a pink nosed possum.

the admission price was pretty much the best $10 i've ever spent in my life.

if you find yourself within range of waimate on the east coast of the south island i cannot speak highly enough of this wonderland!

25Dec/090

oamaru to rakaia, new zealand

oamaru, reknown for its obsession with penguins, is another place for spotting yellow eyed penguins. i wasn't here at the right time of day to see the little fellers but i was able to see the neat antique shops in the old part of town. gorgeous historical buildings. i was so tempted to get some old timey portraits done-the costume selection at the studio was legit. also found some bright blue ocean water and a cheese factory!

25Dec/090

moeraki, new zealand

this tiny town is also a penguin spotting point-i was able to see some amazing yellow eyed penguins here! (see "penguins!" posting for some photos)

i treated myself to a night indoors and next to a heater (!) in moeraki because it was seriously too cold to camp! brr!

vistas of the harbor were full of nice colors and i also enjoyed the surreal moeraki boulders, just north of the town. certainly the roundest boulders i have ever seen!

25Dec/090

penguins!, new zealand

i was fortunate enough to see two types of penguins on different occassions!

the tiny blue penguins were spotted at the taiaroa head, otago peninsula right at dusk/dark. despite the cold and the rain, lots of people were there and it was hard to get a nice photo given all the variables. i have included some photos of these guys, taxidermied, so that we can all get a better look!

yellow eyed penguins were spotted at the lighthouse in moeraki a bit before the sun set, so that i was able to make a few snaps and get a close look at these guys making their way back to their burrows for the night. what cuties! i can't get over how adorable penguin walk is.

25Dec/090

dunedin and the otago peninsula, new zealand

honestly, one of the reasons i headed for dunedin was because i saw that the annual rainfall for this city was remarkably low when compared with the west coast. plus, there was penguin spotting on the otago peninsula!

i ended up being very impressed by dunedin-there was loads to see in the city itself: the delectable cadbury chocolate factory tour-complete with chocolate waterfall, the very impressive (and free) otago museum, gorgeous architecture, the contemporary art museum (also free). the otago peninsula was also absolutely amazing and i was able to see some very tiny, very adorable blue penguins come to shore (see "penguins!" post for some photos) and some very giant royal albatross who flew overhead.

25Dec/090

cromwell to the catlins, new zealand

the lonely planet described the icon of cromwell as a "spectacularly ugly giant fruit salad." perhaps it's just my predilection for oversized food sculptures, but i found it spectacular, giant, and made of fruit in the best possible ways!

the drive on the 8 was gorgeous: rolling green hills, many sheep, beautiful trees, and curvy roads. i decided to take a section of the southern scenic route to a department of conservation campsite in the catlins. despite the sheepy doos, it was an amazing campsite.

it rained that night and part of the next day. when i was leaving the site, i parked the car for a few seconds to use the toilet. when i drove the car forward, i drove it straight into an oversized mud puddle! the front tire sank so far in that the back tire was off the ground! poor little car! i recruited some fellow campers to save me...should have bought insurance for the rental...

25Dec/090

queenstown, new zealand

i met my funny new argentinian friends in their hometown of queenstown-axel is always smiling and bernie is always laughing! it was fun to see them in their own element. i got an added bonus-their room mate shaun sails on lake wakatipu and was able to take bernie and me for a free spin by sailboat! we even got to help raise the sails and steer the boat a bit. sailing is complicated! and hard work! but super neat.

queenstown is known to be the action capital of new zealand and quite possibly the world. new zealanders have thought of every adrenaline rush getter: paragliding, bungee jumping, parasailing, jet boating, zorbing, sky diving, whitewater rafting, kiteboarding, surfing, heli skiing...perhaps someday i will return to queenstown to do something of the sort. (first-have to get rich.)

25Dec/090

clouds of wanaka, new zealand

here are some clouds from the evening of the 9th december: