Our last stop in this short New Zealand getaway was in Zealandia, Wellington, a bird sanctuary.
We also went to the renowned Te Papa Museum, the National Museum of New Zealand, which happens to be free. It holds an interesting special exhibit on the giant squid and many other, including on the Maori culture. I very much recommend it!
(View from the suspended bridge in Zealandia)
Walking in Zealandia gave you a quick peek at what New Zealand might have been like before settlement and urbanization, when it was still a country of birds. It is when you walk in this dense forest that you realize just how much of an impact humans had in this bird paradise, where there was practically no predators. The modification of habitats as well as the introduction of different species of animal, which became predators to the birds, really took its toll on the land.
(The presence of trout – or more precisely their excrement’s – has affected the pH of the water which has in turn resulted in an algae problem)
Despite our beautiful surroundings, my appreciation was somewhat tempered by other visitors who did not seem to realize that in order to have any success at bird watching, you needed to be relatively quiet. So the sounds and sights of birds had a bad tendency to be drowned in the stomping of over enthusiastic or uninterested visitors.
(Zealandia is located in what used to be an hydroelectricity reservoir)
Binoculars and bird feeders were strategically placed to allow for a better and easier experience.
We spent a few hours walking the paths and I could see myself spending many more hours doing so.
This visit to Zealandia, combined with the lecture of the discovery ranger at Maria’s Island in Tasmania, has really changed my outlook on birds. Don’t get me wrong, I used to like birds, but I have found that they can be quite fascinating when you actually stop to pay attention to them.