I know we skipped a lot of things on the south island (that we will hopefully get to) but i wanted to take some time to describe the symphony of sounds we woke up to this morning.
First of all, this spot is AWESOME. I know i overuse that word but it is truly awe inspiring. We're just outside of Kaikoura on the east coast of the south island, at a place called Waikene Lodge. We saw this little out of the way spot on campermate, and decided it was probably the last peaceful, remote spot we'd have, since we're heading to Christchurch next and then on to Australia.
(campermate, by the way, is an incredibly helpful app that shows you all possible camping spots offline -which is vital since wifi is like gold out here-and shows people's comments and reviews).
It's a working farm, huge, i think the owner said 4000 acres. Cattle, sheep, turkey, deer. Deer has been an interesting thing to see here - raising it, that is. Funny, considering how at home we dont seem to take advantage of venison as much. Here you see the herds and high fences everywhere. In fact, i bet, with all my unscientific data gathering (that is, looking as we drive by and guessing) that deer are the third largest livestock raised here.
Anyway, the sounds. First, the songbirds. They are everywhere in the country but today they were especially prevalent. They sound like a drunk flutist who can only remember 5 notes, and never in the same order or in harmony with each other, and yet its still charming. Anyway, the cattle. I had no idea how many weird sounds cattle can make. "Moo" is such an understatement. Picture whatever noise would come out of a cartoon cow with bugged out eyes who was just taken by surprise. I heard a lot of that. One sounded like an airhorn. How? Why? And the deer did not sound that different. The stags were loud like the cows, and then every now and then you here what sounded like a bored, "meh."
sorry if this is super boring but it was pretty amusing to me. The cows were SO animated, it was such a funny way to wake up.
But mostly, this spot was just so gorgeous, and contrary perhaps to all that i wrote above, quite peaceful. yesterday when we arrived, we were the only ones there for a while until a couple from the UK showed up, but kept mostly to themselves.
The owners had a few hikes on their land as well, so I took a walk to the lookout by myself, which takes you directly through cattle yards. Was a bit scared at first when i encountered the first crowd of cows, but I shouldn't have been. They all stop what they're doing, stare at you, and then scatter like you're a lepor (both socially, and medically). Kind of funny how fast they'd run at the sight of me (also, kinda offended. Whatever, cow).
Gonna miss New Zealand. This country has really delivered.
On our way to Christchurch today, then we fly out Monday for Sydney!