And more things with wings: Stewart Island and flying to Fiji

After such a great day at the Otago Peninsula we decided to drive down to Bluff to catch a ferry to Stewart Island. We got kind of a late start because we had been up really late the night before. I decided because of the impending cyclone I didn’t want to be in Fiji and wanted to delay my flight. So I had to organize it all. To get from Te Anau to Nai requires a bus and two flights.

Parrot after the sunset.

A Kaka after the sunset.

The ferry to Stewart Island was wicked. The swells were probably at least 10 to 15 feet high, it was like a roller coaster. I think after that trip I can fairly definitively say that I don’t get sea sick. One thing that is awesome being in New Zealand in the summer is that it doesn’t get dark til about 10pm. So on our first night we were able to watch the sunset and do a short night hike. It is kind of fun being out at night, though the forest wasn’t as active as we had hoped. Even on our first night we saw Tuis and Kakas which are a kind of parrot.

Perhaps the sign made us a little too hopeful.

Perhaps the sign made us a little too hopeful.

Beautiful hike on Stewart Island

Beautiful hike on Stewart Island

The second day we decided to do a long day hike around the island. The forest is so incredibly beautiful as is the ocean. The tracks were pretty well maintained as well. That night after a bit of a nap we decided to do a stake out for kiwi. We stayed out til 2 or 3 am and yet still did not see a kiwi. It was cold and a little disappointing. But still fun.

A Tui we saw on our first hike

A Tui we saw on our first hike

The second day we decided to take a ferry to Ulva Island which is supposed to be incredibly good for bird watching because of a lack of natural predators. And as promised within about half an hour we had seen bellbirds, robins, parrots, parakeets, an oystercatcher, and more. Then on the beach we saw a family of “short-billed kiwis” or wekas. A mom and her 3 chicks and a dad. Flightless like the kiwis and so cute. They weren’t scared of people at all. You could get super close to them. It was very fun and a very nice trip.

Family of Wekas

Family of Wekas

The three Muskateers on Ulva Island

The three Muskateers on Ulva Island

After Ulva we had to go back to the mainland and drive to Te Anau for the night.  This was also the night that may camera died with help from Ian and a car which obviously made me very sad. I was pretty sad to leave, but it was my last night.

Monday, today, I woke up and took a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown. I wish I could have spent more time in that city it’s so pretty. Then a flight from Queenstown to Auckland. Then I was supposed to have a flight from Auckland to Nadi, but because of Cyclone Evan it was canceled.

It was at this point that I got an email saying I could have rescheduled this flight free of charge because of the cyclone. So of course I wish I would have known that and taken advantage of that and stayed a little longer. Jacob was super nice to pick me up from the airport, feed me dinner, give me a couch to sleep on, and even wake up to drive me to the airport at 5:15am. Thank you!

Also while in Auckland I visited the Auckland Museum, had a chill night (though not lots of sleep because I was stressing) and now am en route to Fiji though not until after two separate flight delays. Let’s just hope my flights from Nadi to LAX to STL work out okay.

All photo credits in this post are to Ian Markham.


About Meg LaFollette

I studied abroad in Fiji for 5 months in 2012 and absolutely fell in love with traveling! I went to New Zealand right after and then Peru this summer. When not traveling (and sometimes during) I love healthy, environmentally conscious living. Animals, biology, horses, and behavior are other passions of mine.
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