Rotorua , New Zealand

IMG_1270Lots of Sheep .IMG_1176Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t written in a while but I have been very busy here in New Zealand.  We are driving around the North Island and it is very green and beautiful.  This is a nice way to see the country, so many rolling green hills (that we learned  used to be forest) There are a lot of cows in this Island, I mean thousands of thousands of cows . A farm would have thousands and they roam the rolling hills and graze.

FUN FACT: This Island produces all the dairy for all of NZThey don’t have to import.

Also SHEEP, as far as the eye can see.  I  noticed some were already shaved and others still had their wool on them. IMG_1273I love watching the sheep. FUN FACT: NZ has 4 million people and 30 million sheep.. Most are on the South Island.

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This is what I have been up to the last few days.

First up….ZIPLINING in the Forest restoration area of the Mamaku Forest in Rotorua. (the only native forest in NZ still intact because all the other forests were either cut down or destroyed). IMG_1196

It’s hard to tell if I am screaming or smiling in this picture. I have been looking forward to this, we ziplined over a forest with fern trees, redwood trees and others.  Our tour went through 6 zip lines and some bridges.IMG_1138On the first zip line I was a little scared but by the end I was doing flips.   See…..this is me! It felt like I was flying through the forest. I  liked feeling like I was a bird.  My parents chose this Canopy Tour because of  the Forest Restoration Project they are involved in.  NZ native bird life has been under threat. The Forest Project has installed 1000 humane traps to control the possum, sloat, rat and rodent population that is killing the birds that are found no where else in the world. part of our tour was learning and seeing all the different kinds of traps and what they catch.  this picture shows what they caught in 5 days. IMG_1199

Over 60 per day in the small area we were in which had only 50 traps (so some caught 2 rodents). It was very informative , the guides were excellent in explaining how important this is. To learn more go to.  http://forestrestoration.co.nz

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Many towns and cities have Maori names to them. Even most street signs are Maori named.

FUN FACT: Maori are the indiginous Polynesian people of New Zealand. We visited towns called Rotorua, Waitomo, Wai-o-Tapu, Waikato, Taupo, etc.

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This area of NZ is full of learning activities.

THE KIWI BIRD.  IMG_1097The KIWI is a BIRD.  Not a fruit. That is called Kiwifruit.  DONT MIX them up! The Kiwi is a flightless bird with no wings and a long skinny beak with nostrils on the end of it. It is nocturnal and comes out at night foraging for food.  IT is threatned by so many predators that it is in danger.  The KIWI bird is native to only NZ and they don’t want to lost this bird. Many conservation projects are trying to protect it (including the trapping done in the forest I zip lined through).  In order to see the KIWI bird we had to come back to this place at night, 9:30 to see it . We did. It was small, and fast running back and forth. Once one of the birds came 3 feet from me, I saw its beak perfectly.  No pictures are allowed.  This is from the internet…

Isn’t he cute.  The ones that I saw were about the size of a chickens. they live in hollow trees or burrow in the forest.  Now on the other hand, ,,,Kiwi fruit is delicious and grows everywhere and is sold at farm stands very cheap. We each eat 2 every day. YUM. (The bird and the fruit are not related, don’t mix them up)

I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com