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December 6th 2018
Published: December 6th 2018
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5th December.

Woke up to the sound of traffic instead of the sky d of the sea. This campground was pretty much in the middle of the city. As there was no waves or view to distract me I was away fairly quickly, not before deciding on a campsite for tonight, tonight I will be staying in Cambridge.

I left the campground at 8.45ish straight into rush our traffic. I was headed to Sanctuary Mountain as planned, I got there just before 10. I looked at the map in the visitor centre and I planned the 90 minute walk. I spoke to the girl on the counter who told me the paths were well defined and no steep slopes. I had a hot chocolate and biscuit before I set off. Typical, it started raining. I swapped the lightweight jacket in my rucksack and put on my usual jacket.

Mountain Sanctuary is an area of pristine bush which as been surrounded by predator fencing to prevent animals such as rats, weasels, hedgehogs, stoats and the like getting in; they also use bait boxes to kill any of these animals already in the fenced off area. Apparently the only non native
mammal inside the sanctuary are mice.

All this is to give the native bird life a chance to survive and thrive. Once under the canopy I no longer needed my coat. The walk was beautiful, I was mesmerized by all the bird song; and not a sparrow in sight. The sparrow by the way was another species introduced by Europeans, along with thrush, sterling and blackbirds. I only met one person on my walk. Quite early on I came across the education centre and read a few bits on the history and the plans for the future; they are hoping to introduce kakapo to the site .

Kakapo are very rare, there was one featured in Stephen Fry documentary a few years ago. If you saw it you will remember it, Sirocca, a hand reared wild kakapo mounted Stephen’s head. One of the reasons they are so rare is that they will only mate if the berries on a certain bush are in very good supply, which may be every 3 or 4 years; mind you they do live for up to 90 years.

I was told at the visitor centre that they do supplementary feeding in a couple of places and this would be where I would have the best chance of actually seeing birds. Theses sites were almost at the end of my walk, so not sure if there will be any food left by the time I get there. Before I get to the feeding station I come across the viewing tower, where you view the upper canopy of the forest.

Hmm. Not sure about this, 16 metre tall wooden structure that sways when you climb it, according to the blurb at it’s base.

Let's go for it, to be fair I am not great with heights. I get about half way up and decided my walking pole is hindering me. I prop it against the side, a continue the climb with one hand on each rail either side of me. Much better! I get to the top, there is seat in the middle; I might just be able to take in the view if I am sat down. I am quite impressed that I made it to the top, I take in the view and am rewarded with a couple if Tui passing through. I make it safely down remembering to collect my walking pole on the way down.

I get back to the van and have cheese and crackers for lunch, which had to be abandoned early due to a heck of a rainstorm. I head straight to the campsite and got there about 2.

It was laundry day again! This is what happens when you travel light, always need to wash stuff I loaded bedding and everything into the washer, made a cuppa, and settled in with my book, which I am still not sure about, there seems to be no plot.

Washing done and I do battle with the wind trying to get the bedding on the line. In fact it takes so long that is almost dry by the time I get enough pegs on it to prevent it blowing away. As soon as it is secure it starts raining. Bollocks. I drag it all of the line, pegs pinging everywhere. Shove it on the counter in the launderette, and go back out to collect pegs from the floor. By the time I am finished it had stopped raining and there was a clear blue sky. I go back to the pile of washing to sort out the nearly dry from the dry and hang the nearly dry up again.

Once my laundry is dry, walk to the local shops, it rained on the way, to pick up supplies and have pork chop and potato salad for tea. By the way, the kitchen was full of Americans, much worse than teenagers.

In bed by 8.45 ish.


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