Eighty million years ago a piece of land broke away from Gondwana and formed a continent called Zealandia. Those were the times when a land was full of unique animals and plants and birds rule them all….until…humans came.
A couple months ago we spent a beautiful day at Zealandia Sanctuary – a place where people strive to go back in time and create a place full of species which had lived here before humans arrived.
Zealandia provides a number of routes which differ in length and difficulty. We started with a recommended route along the lower reservoir. At the point where the path went down to the water we heard a loud crackle of wings. Those were wood pigeons. They are much bigger and also prettier than ugly city pigeons. An interesting thing which we learnt about them was that they eat some fermented kind of berries which might get them a bit tipsy. By the way, that was also a reason why they were such an easy prey.
Later on, we came up to a section of a lawn where there was a few takahe. It’s one of bird species who lost an ability to fly because nobody hunted them for such a long time. They look like a colorful chubby chicken.
From the upper dam, where there was a great view of green surrounding hills and down the valley, we carried on to Round the Lake Track. This easy a few kilometers long track went up and down around the Upper Dam with a few nice views but most of the time the track ran through the forest.
On the way back we explored all educative boxes with bird’s nests, eggs of different sizes and compared different bird sounds.
We weren’t lucky enough to see one of spotted kiwis who lives there but as they are nocturnal animals the probability was quite low. Maybe we’ll make a night tour one day.