Dad and I went to a bird sanctuary on an island just north of Auckland and it was good. Boom, done.
I was a bit stressed out when we left for Tiritiri, but that disappeared after a short walk. I had spent the past two days hanging out in Auckland with some friends and, due to some bad planning and lack of coordinating on my part, ended up meeting Dad rather later than expected. He was not pleased. The following morning, I had to get up early because we were spending a week in the Coramandel Peninsula directly after visiting Tiritiri and, as per my usual, I had procrastinated and not packed.
As soon as we got off the ferry, Dad and I try to sneak away from the crowd gathering around to hear the rules of the island, which we already knew. Unfortunately, volunteers had already dispersed to all trail heads and were blocking our escape. They were very quick. I wonder if they have assigned posts, if they practice maneuvers and discuss strategy in their spare time.
When we did manage to get past them, which was before we strictly should have as the ranger was still taking questions, we quickly headed down a side track and hoofed it to put distance between ourselves and other people. I know I'm a tourist too and could maybe have a pleasanter attitude towards the hoards of people overrunning tourist sites, especially considering that the people I actually do strike up conversation with often turn out to be interesting, amenable people. But I generally want to distance and my fellow tourists. Maybe I'm a snob.
As I said in my one-sentance summary, Tiritiriri Matangi is a bird sanctuary. Sadly, while I managed to get several pictures of lovely landscapes, few birds were kind enough to sit still for a portrait. I generally remembered my camera's existence seconds after a bird had exploded out of - and back into - the surrounding foliage. I will have to recall the birds we saw -dozens of Tui, a couple wood pigeons (which are huge by comparison to everyday city pigeons), some pukeko, a takahe, a north island robin, several red-crowned parakeets, and others unidentified by yours truly - the good old fashioned way. With my brain.
The land was incredible in itself. I am being spoiled by the density of New Zealand landscapes. Closer to the center of the island, along its spine, were high meadows. Along the slopes were trails though the dappled light of lush forest. And around the edges of the island were either cliffs dropping down to provide excellent views, or the beautiful beaches to walk along and enjoy the sun and the surf.
The day ended much as it had begun - with us scrambling to find something. This was not my fault this time! (I have to point these moments out.) Dad had left his glasses on a grassy knoll near the wharf in the morning after taking them off to apply sunscreen. So for the ferry ride back to the mainland, the two of us positioned ourselves to be the first ones off the boat. Excited children step aside - we're on an important mission. When we got ashore, there was an entire family of Indian people standing on our knoll, chatting away, children underfoot and no one paying attention where they put there feet. Dad asked if anyone had seen his glasses and, while they had not, many eyes made light work and they were soon found, mercifully undamaged.