It was with a real tinge of sadness that we woke up on our last day in New Zealand. However we had plans to make the most of our last day during which the weather forecast could be summarised in one word as ‘glorious’.
Karen had gone to bed last night singing ‘We’re going to the zoo tomorrow’ because that was true. She had persuaded me that it was against the law to leave NZ without having seen an actual Kiwi again, coupled with the fact that she loves a good zoo. It did also seem quite a good use of our last day before we made our way to the airport.
We retrieved the car from the underground garage under the car park after a 10 point turn as there was not much space to manoeuvre. The journey was about 15-minutes to get to the Zoo and for the first time in NZ I had to pay car park but that was a very reasonable £4 all day. We blagged our way into the zoo as Seniors at a price of $24 each.
It was already very hot as we headed towards the Africa section and Karen was excited to see the 2 ½ week old Giraffe which was running around although did seem to be bullied by the Ostriches at one point. I was already impressed with the Zoo’s theming and walkways.
The zoo got better. It was laid out with a stream meandering through the valley into which it was built and they made best use of it. As ever in zoos some animals seemed to absent, or just sleeping, whilst others were out making the most of the sun. I’m pretty sure it was the actual meerkat from the adverts who was sitting there looking at me.
From the Africa section we headed to the New Zealand section. Sadly the Takahe's that Karen also wanted to see appeared to have all escaped as there were nowhere to be seen. We headed to the Kiwi section which as we expected was in the pitch black. We suspect that as before they have switched the birds night/day clock around by putting all the lights on when the paying visitors have gone home. There were several fully grown snuffling around, including one that came right up to the glass in front of us. They are most peculiar in that they seem to be covered in fur rather than feathers. I decided that Karen should buy me one that we could keep in our conservatory along with the Koala I have always wanted.
Then we needed refreshment and some lunch. There was not much choice so we both ended with another jolly delicious NZ pie and a hot drink. It was fabulous sitting outside having these with wall to wall sunshine around us, serenaded by some very noisy baboons next to us (in the enclosure - not on the next table).
We wandered around the Asia section having already been told that the Tiger walk was closed because there had been a cub born in the last couple of weeks (sadly we heard on the radio later than it had had to be euthanised whilst we were in the park after suffering a bad head injury from a fall over the weekend).
Then it was time for the Australia area which was devoid of both kangeroos and koalas but did have a great bird section with some marvellously coloured birds that held my interest but I really wanted to see koalas again.
We were walking past the Galapagos Islands exhibit when we saw the Giant Tortoises. Another addition potentially for my menagerie in the conservatory. There were some pre school children who wanted Mummy to look at one of the Tortoises having ride on the back of another……..
By now it was getting really hot and on the way out we visited the Vet Hospital which we thought was strange as it was deserted. We now sadly know why.
Karen needed another drink on the way out as she was starting to feel the heat. Now I can take or leave a zoo, but this is up there with the best. The setting in a valley with the stream is such a lovely place for a walk with all the exotic plants without all the animals. Karen was all for buying annual membership until I reminded her of the 11400 miles distance from home.
As we were heading back to the car, Karen diverted to us to a park alongside the zoo. She was convinced the ‘escaped’ Takahe's were actual wandering freely here. I was convinced they were similar but not quite the same. I stopped a local lady and asked. She said they were Pekapo which are indeed closely related and a similar colour but not. They are also known as Swamp Hens.
We headed back to the apartment where we chilled for a while before our final pack up. Before we came it was the final leg in Hawaii I was looking forward to the most but now I just didn’t want the New Zealand leg to end.
It was with a heavy heart that we loaded the car and headed to the airport to drop off the car. I was convinced we would pass a garage to refill with fuel before we got to the drop off for Apex cars but we didn’t and had to then reroute for a couple of miles to find one.
The shuttle bus to take us to the airport arrived quickly and we were the only ones on it. Sadly though we were so early we had to wait 1 hour for the check in desk to open to drop our bags. Security was quick and easy and we made our way to the Strata Lounge to relax. There was a self service bar and a most peculiar selection of food. There were tureens of cooked vegtables but nothing to have them with. I stuck with the cheese and several glasses of bubbly.
And then Back from the Future......