Yesterday Mary suggested a day in the Wairarapa.
As a province, the Wairarapa lacks a publicly acknowledged focus for tourism. Of course there are the Tararuas, and Castlepoint and the vineyards, but nothing to bring the crowds like Rotorua or Queenstown. On the one hand, it may be a good thing so that the citizens of the province can continue in the quiet and unspoiled enjoyment of their home. No matter where I look in the Wairarapa there are delightful pastoral views.
We went to the Pukaha Mt Bruce nature reserve. In retrospect, doing it the day after a trip to Zealandia was bound to lead to disappointment. Make no mistake, it is a beautiful place with delightful walks on well maintained paths through fantastic bush.
Unlike Zealandia, its bird exhibits are in cages whereas those in Wellington fly free. Like a certain branch of alternative medicine, the cages may or may not have contained one of the birds named on the label. Their presence is elusive and of the eight or nine cages you may or may not get to see one of the birds. But, even if you do, shooting through wire is vastly unsatisfactory. The kaka (bush parrot) is an exception, perhaps because they are simply too big to hide. The stream that flows through the sanctuary is a breeding ground for the New Zealand Long Fin eel. They have spooky blue eyes. The star attraction at Pukaha is the very rare white kiwi named “Manukura”, and since that is in a glass enclosure with night lighting, and we got a good view of her and her mate, “Turua”.
Another interesting display in the centre is the Tuatara. This is New Zealand’s most celebrated reptile which has been on Earth for approximately 200 million years.
We chose to take a scenic route home. The Opaki-Kaiparoro road starts a little North of Mt Bruce and then winds through the hill country to the East. The road runs more or less parallel to SH2 and rejoins it close to Masterton. It passes through the tiny settlements of Mauriceville and Kopuaranga. At Mauriceville, there is a school, and an agricultural limeworks. At one time there was a dairy factory, but the nearest one now is at Pahiatua. There is nothing there, but it there seem to be twenty or so dwellings in the town. The nearest shopping centre is a half hour drive away, but if you have to live in isolation, this is a pretty place in which to do it.
That’s it for now.