"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I`ve traveled to.
...But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won`t fall down."
-Mitch Hedberg

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Elusive Kiwi and Pelorus Bridge

Our first decision on the South Island was to vote against heading north into the Queen Charlotte Sound, even though it’s highly recommended. The tours are pricey, the roads are unpaved, and while the hiking is supposed to be epic, we’re more stoked to hike/kayak the Abel Tasman National Park – a five day excursion. We don’t want to peak before we get to the Tasman. So we headed west.

On the way to Marahau (the entry point for the Abel Tasman Park), we found a great little DOC campsite called Pelorus Bridge.

I’m a big fan of freedom camping, but this Serviced DOC campsite is one that I can highly recommend. The facilities at Serviced sites are a lot nicer than the Basic or Standard DOC sites and traditionally feature gas cookers, flush toilets, ample space for camping, excellent trails through the woods, and a hot shower – so worth ten bucks a night.

We planned on hiking down to the river, but as I was shoveling down some cocoa pops, nature came to us.

Out of nowhere Carolyn freaked out behind the van. She squealed, “KIWI!! I SEE A BABY KIWI!!! BLAAAARGGGRAAAAAGGGGRRGRH KIWIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I dove out of the van to see the elusive bird, confused that it was out during the daytime (they’re nocturnal) and saw instead a little brown bird with huge feet. It resembled a kiwi, but didn’t look quite right. The beak was too short and the talons on its feet were gargatumongahugical.

Much to our dismay we found out the bird wasn’t a kiwi – it was another flightless bird, the weka. It didn’t matter though because it was fun to feed the curious family.

Pelorus Bridge provided us with a nice hot shower, our first kiwi false alarm, and our first weka sighting.

Not too shabby.
by Shawn Forno
The Department of Conservation – or DOC – is a campervan or backpacker’s best friend in New Zealand. This government established organization exists to ensure that a large number of recreation areas, rest stops, dive and snorkel sites, locations, protected habitat...read more
"Kiwi Sighting" - a comic by Shawn Forno


  1. Hahahaha...that cartoon is so Carolyn! :-)

  2. glad everyone's having a good time at my expense!!

  3. Shawn when I was @ 14 I did a school bike trip from Blenheim to Christchurch via Lake Rotoiti over amazing terrain. We rode bikes with no gears, had no training. It was hell on mind and body but spectacular to view.
    Enjoy the countryside
    Watch for the Drop Bears, They can kill!!!!
    Always look up.

  4. I looked at yr map
    Lake Rotoroa

  5. Uncle Tony,

    We actually looked into a biking trip, and would like to do one when the weather gets a bit better. Blenheim to ChCh is wicked though! That's a pretty solid pedal for a school trip.

    Kiwi-can-do I guess...

  6. Those birds are classic!! They're quite large, no?