It is a challenge a few hardy souls like to take on. Travelling the length of New Zealand by various means - on foot, by bicycle, or on a horse.....
A friend of mine Emma is walking from Cape Reinga to Bluff in 140 days (3000 kms) with 2 friends. Emma is one of the DOC rangers on Matiu/Somes Island, and I really admire the challenge they are taking on. They left on the 11 November, and are making good progress. I will be following their progress as they wont be taking just any ordinary route. These guys will be going full guns.
Matiu/Somes Island is very special to me. It is an island in Wellington harbour that has extensive history as a human quarantine base, an internment camp during the war and an animal quaratine station. Now it is a scientific and historic reserve. The island is home to a population of tuatara, Giant Cook Strait Weta, many sea birds i.e. Little Blue Penguins, Fluttering Shearwaters and Kakariki to name a few, also skinks and geckos.
2 DOC rangers live permanently on the island, and many visitors visit in the weekends (there are also houses on the island that can be booked to stay on), there is a strict bio security check, before access is granted, to make sure no pests make it onto the island. There are also a myriad of volunteers that help with various projects.
In June I went over a couple of times to plant trees and then to remove weeds. From there, because of my gardening and DOC background I visited monthly, staying on the island for the weekend helping with pruning trees and keeping tracks tidy, as well as helping with the small flock of sheep and other small chores. I loved it. And hopefully I will get to go back.It was something I really looked forward to each month. Its a truly beautiful place.
I will go back with the family to spend a few days there...its awesome to sit on the peaceful island at night and hear the sounds of the city over the harbour.
The Island with Wellington City in the background. The ship is the TSS Esmeralda, a Chilean training ship.
Me with a couple of volunteers on a planting trip.
Holding a Giant Cook Strait Weta for the first time
This weta is only a small one. They can grow quite large. The females are larger. They sit quitely in your hand, but start to move around a bit once the warmth of your hand moves to them. For the Kiwis reading this, these wetas are not aggressive like the Wellington/Auckland tree wetas that we encounter in the garden.