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June 10- Wellington YHA Hostel

I started writing two nights ago, hoping to post a blog before we left Rotorua (which didn’t happen) but the first paragraph is from Tuesday night. It’s Thursday now around 5:30 and I’ve finally found some free time to fill in what I’ve been up to.

It’s almost 9pm on Tuesday night and I just got a shower and now I’m sitting in bed watching whatever is on TV. I am all packed up except for what I’m wearing tomorrow and taking on the bus. We are leaving around 10:45 at the bus station to travel about 7 hours to Wellington. It’s a public so unfortunately we’ll have to share the bus with other people. But it’s ok! I’ll be sitting with Beth and we always have a good time. I had such a good day today and it was absolutely wonderful. Two of the girls woke up at 7 to catch a bus to a hot springs tour this morning, so of course, I woke up too. I went ahead and packed up then headed to McDonalds to get on the internet. I stayed there for about an hour posting pictures and chatting, and then I walked down the street to split a Domino’s pizza with Beth for lunch. We wanted to eat near the lake (which is only a few blocks further down the street) so we walked down and found a bench after taking a few pictures. As soon as we sat down, there were TONS of seagulls that flocked to our bench and I don’t think I even got a bite out of my first piece until one flew right past my head and I felt its wing brush my face. At this point, I threw my pizza back in the box and ran away to the playground area. We decided to eat at the picnic table instead. There was a cute little ice cream stand close by our table and we stopped in to order milkshakes. They had some cool flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, boysenberry, caramel, and some other strange ones I can’t remember. I got a caramel “thickshake” and it was pretty good. I could only drink about half though because it was very rich.

We walked back towards the hotel and stopped in to the tourist place to find out about rainbow springs, a kiwi preservation. It was pretty cheap to have a van take us there, so we bought tickets and set a time for the driver to come pick us up. I had about 2 hours or so before the van came so I hung out in the room and took a nap after I got my bag together and my camera battery charged. It was a wonderful afternoon! Around three, the van showed up outside the Ventura and took us to the preservation. It was only about a 10 minute drive or so and the lady was so nice! She even took a detour to show us the hot springs park and tell us about some of Rotorua’s history.

Rainbow Springs has multiple things to walk around and look at, there’s a huge “rainforest” trail to walk down. I saw so many different birds, reptiles, and even some chickens! Funny story- so Beth and I were about finished with the trails and we were heading back up the front building to find out where we needed to go to see the kiwis later that night (they are nocturnal, so we had to wait until after 6pm). As I turned the corner, the cutest little white chicken made his way toward me down the hill. I started to take some pictures until suddenly this chicken put it into full gear and started hurtling down the trail towards me. All of a sudden she was about a foot away and came to a complete stop. I took some more pictures and then saw in the background some of her friends come running down. At this time, I didn’t particularly want to be attacked by a flock of chickens, so I turned around and walked at a very fast pace towards the front building. When I got there, we asked where the kiwi building was located and of course, it was right around the corner with the attack chickens. The guy at the counter laughed when I said there were running chickens close by (you could see them through the glass door waiting around). He gave me a bag of fish pellets and said that they were just hungry. So I cautiously make my way back up the path to the kiwis, fish food in hand. The chickens (about five of them) come back down the hill towards me again and I threw the food over to one side. Then out of nowhere, a HUGE rooster came out of the woods, right in the way of where I needed to walk. I didn’t know what to do since I was out of food and all I could think about was when Mama was a little girl how she got attacked by that big rooster guarding the hen house. Beth was behind me and pushed me out into the chickens and luckily there was still enough food to distract them. So we made it.

The kiwis were so precious and definitely worth the whole trip! There was one that had just hatched 6 days ago and he was asleep in a little box filled with ferns and a water bowl. He was about the size of my fist balled up and the sign on his box said that his sister was still in the incubator about to hatch too. There were also three full grown kiwis inside large areas that were glassed off from the main walkway. Since they are nocturnal, the room is very dark and it’s hard to find them because they blend in. I found that if you just look at the bushes and plants in the areas and watch to see if they move, it’s easier to find the kiwi. After it got dark outside, we were able to see the kiwis that were kept outside (these are different from the ones inside because they are closer to being released into the wild- with close monitoring, of course). Around 5:45, it got dark and we walked over to the kiwi area. This is set up differently from the one inside, there’s only a small little dividing wall about a foot tall that keeps the kiwis inside their house areas. Each kiwi is kept separate and they have a large area to run around, sleep in, and find food in the dirt. There was one kiwi that kept coming very close to the dividing wall and he even put his little beak on the wood making snorting noises. I think he was probably inches away from me. They really are the cutest birds ever in the whole world!

We watched the three kiwis outside for about an hour just going from area to area. When I was ready to go, the van picked me up and took me back to the hotel. I had beef and vegetable soup for dinner and then went to bed. The next morning our group met around 10 and walked down the bus station (about ¼ of a mile) with all of our luggage to wait for the 11:15 bus to Wellington. That was such a long day spent on the bus, making all kinds of stops to pick up and drop off people on the way. Around 7pm, we made it to Wellington and found the hostel we are staying at for four days (until Sunday). It is definitely sooo much nicer than the one in Auckland. Although there are actual bunk beds, we have our own bathroom and shower, which is such an improvement! I couldn’t sleep on the top bunk, it was super rickety so I moved my mattress onto the floor in the corner of the room and it’s like camping now! When we get to Dunedin, we are staying in a cottage, almost like a bed and breakfast, so that should be awesome!

Today, I did a lot of walking around Wellington just to see what all is around. I spent about 2 hours in the national museum called Tau Papa and it’s huge!!! 6 floors filled with all sorts of neat exhibits and lots of information on earthquakes, culture of the Maori, and so much more. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and Saturday, so I’ll probably head back there and stay longer. I’m having spaghetti for dinner tonight and it should be pretty good!! I’ll try to keep up more on the blogs, it was hard when I didn’t have internet to make myself write. I can’t believe my trip is coming to a close so soon! Only one week left after tonight. And two of those days will be spent on a plane. This month has been a wonderful experience and it’s gone by so quickly. I can’t wait to see what else I can find to do before I go home!

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June 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments