Kiwis (the local people) we have met have all been lovely. Seriously great folk. I am loving learning all of their expressions and listening to their lovely dialect.
Only one day after we landed, we went on an (estimated- because I cannot convert metric to save my life) 8 mile guided tramp (hike) on the Routeburn Track (trail). We were led by Adam, a wellness consultant who was delightful. He graciously answered our questions and got along great with Jim. He was a fount of knowledge. We found out that NZ doesn’t have any indigenous mammals, aside from a type of bat, and was only home to birds at one time. Settlers have brought in many small invasive species, though, and their beautiful birds have suffered for it. I was happy to hear that there aren’t any large predatory mammals (ie: bear, wolves, cougar, etc) which made hiking all the better. While walking we heard the most beautiful bird song and I could fully concentrate on listening to it instead of tuning into every little snap and crack. It was hard not to feel as protective as the locals of preserving their native birds. Each call was its own melody. We also observed, while hiking or driving or walking, that there isn’t any litter on the side of the road or trails. When I asked, he told us the Department of Conservation is good about drilling this into people, and the locals all really love where they live, so they take pride in it. They are wonderful stewards of nature. If they see someone litter, it is remedied right away.
The water here is crystal clear, extremely cold, and absolutely delicious. You can drink right from the source.
Our Falafel (J) hiked faster than us all, and since it was only one path and no one could get lost, she was consistently out of our sight for most of the walk. Before we turned to head back down, Adam took us to an incredible clearing with rushing water that was clean enough to drink. The girls loved this.
Our hot swollen tootsies needed to soak in that freezing water. Getting back to our Hobbit roots.
Her happy place
I soon realized there are no bad views. Everywhere you look is perfection.
This one made me giggle. We were trying to imitate a Chinese tourist who came up with the best ways to pose for her selfies.
The hike was uphill for a good portion, but so satisfying. We were all sore that night and the next morning.
Someone had to take the photo, so we did two
All sweaty and joyful
You can read all about Day 1 here.