Have not yet spotted said rare bird (Great Spotted, Little Spotted, Brown, or Rowi varieties) in the wild yet, however in the course of my dear Mum and sister's 12 day visit here we were able to watch a couple of Rowi Kiwis snuffling around in the forest litter of their darkened (they're nocturnal creatures) enclosure of a Kiwi breeding program. I will update you if I happen to spot one in the wild. The next two weeks will be a good opportunity to potentially hear, if not see, a Kiwi because I will be volunteer Hut Wardening with Kaitlyn at the Welcome Flat Hut on the Copland Track of the West Coast of the South Island. Because that might sound like some gibberish to you, I'll let you in the the best part- this means I'll be hanging out with my best bud at one of the nicest backcountry huts in New Zealand for two weeks. Why is this hut so nice you ask? Well that could have to do with the fact that it's located just metres from 3 natural thermal hot springs, which is where I will be found soaking after adventuring around the woods all day. Awesome! The Dept of Conservation even dropped our food off via helicopter already, so there will be plenty of room in my backpack for my trusty mandolin! It's a rough life over here folks, a rough life indeed.
Sarah and Heather's trip out here was a grand time. Luckily as Dad was not up to traveling after his recent bout of pneumonia (get well soon, Pops!), Heather was able to just on the trip last minute and use his bookings. We logged 2,700 kilometres bombing around the South Island. Highlights included stopping at heaps of waterfalls (I think Heather's count was somewhere in the 50's by the end of the trip), seeing glaciers, hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park (google it, it is gorgeous), going 'fishing' at a salmon farm, watching little blue and yellow eyed penguins waddle up onto the beach with full bellies at the end of the day, going to Milford Sound and trying to get the dolphins to come give us a ride, seeing a pitch black cave filled with constellations of luminescent fly maggots (ahem- glow worms), and getting the obligatory adrenaline rush in Queenstown via the Shotover River jetboat on Heather's birthday. One cool thing about the jetboat is that Grandpa Cy and Grandma Jean did the same thing when they visited New Zealand! It seems that a Fitton tradition is developing- who's next?? My cousins on the Fitton side, Lauren and Jason Blair, are planning a trip out here so maybe they'll be next! ;)
Otherwise all's good here- after some months living and working in Wellington it is fun to be back to life ruled by the white lines on the free free way. I do miss my friends and life in Welly, but it is nice to mix it up. In the next few months I'll be going on as many tramps as I can, potentially participating in a recovery programme for the Kakapo bird on a quarantined island- cool!, and maybe doing some more wwoofing or working picking fruit. I'll try to post photos when I can! Until next time!
Wandering Jamie xxx