The summer is officially over here in New Zealand, and with that, my unexpectedly long summer (one whole year of hopping from country to country, always catching the sun) is slowly coming to an end. Thankfully we’re currently experiencing an unusually awesome trend of cold mid-week days, followed by roasting hot weekends!
This weekend I finally got a chance to visit Zealandia – which is a 225 hectare expanse of dense forest, rare birds, majestic hill tops and gorgeous lakes, and which is one of Wellington’s MUST SEE attractions. I’d also just like to say a massive thank-you to Wellington City Council for hooking me up with some passes for the sanctuary.
Once we arrived the first thing we were told was that there were only a few tracks that were considered ‘accessible’ for a wheelchair user. Oh how I love hearing those words. It pretty much triggers something inside of me that says ‘right then… challenge accepted’. I then deliberately take all the tracks that I’ve been advised against.
There’s something about the thrill of hurtling down some beaten up tracks at break-neck speed that really gets me going. Seriously, these pathways were barely suitable for hikers at times – still though, I wasn’t going to be put off – even if there was some 50-60 foot drops either side of me, not to mention the random hairpin bends! I really need a GoPro…
My inner Monkey surfaced itself yet again as I ditched my wheelchair and made my way through the dense forest, climbing on trees as I went and inspecting huge bugs and insects.
Zealandia Sanctuary is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most cherished birds, including a fair few Kiwi’s, although they’re predominantly only ever seen at night.
One such cool bird is the Takahe, and as we were sitting having a late lunch before the sanctuary closed for the day, out of no-where one of them appeared before us. To our surprise and absolute delight the Takahe came right up to us and even ate bread out of our hands. It totally blew my mind to not only be seeing on of the rarest birds in existence, but to feeding it and being close enough to stroke it. Mesmorising!!!
I’m pretty stoked about the fact we got to see a Takake up close and personal, and I’m also in awe with some of the natural beauty that Zealandia has to offer. Accessing the park is a breeze, and there’s even a shuttle bus that takes you too and from the main entrance and the city centre – something which we took full advantage of on our way back down into Wellington!
I now know, hands down, EXACTLY why everyone raves about how awesome Zealandia is!