Tag Archives: wildlife

Safety Tips for Your Trip!

New Zealand is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and beaches just waiting to be explored, by tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately,  people die and are injured every year in New Zealand, while exploring, having a fun holiday or day out. Poor judgement, lack of knowledge & complacency, more often that not, play a part in these deaths & injuries.

The weather & conditions in NZ are very changeable even in the summer. So it pays to be prepared for the worst, as the saying goes “Shit Happens” when you least expect it, a day trip can turn into an overnight trip, very easily.

So here are a few safety tips and advice I personally follow and carry, whenever I go out anywhere. Otherwise, I have similar gear that permanently lives in my vehicle, along with a few extra bits and pieces.

  1. Tell someone where you are going, what time you are leaving your home/accommodation and what time you hope to arrive back at home/accommodation. Say you will text or call, when you get back.
  2. Check the weather forecast/conditions. I use and find AccuWeather quite reliable. No weather forecast is 100%. Accu, gives you a lot of information, including cloud cover percentages, wind chill & rain information etc. If I am heading towards the coast I also check Surf-forcast.com  for the latest tidal information, such as high/low tide times, wave height, energy & wind. Lastly, I also take a look at the Department of Conservation, for information on track conditions, permits, wildlife etc.
  3. Know where you are going, write down directions, take a map, I don’t rely on my cell phone because coverage can be sketchy in places. Its is also very easy to lose, drop/break your phone.
  4. Dress for the conditions: take extra clothing & a first aid kit, including any medications you may need.
  5. Water & food, make sure you have enough, always take extra.

Here is a quick run down of what I have in my pack, all year around.

  1. First aid kit, I make my own, saves money and I get what I want in my kit including any medication.  Always have your first aid kit, accessible, don’t have it buried at the bottom of your pack or bag. I use a zip lock sandwich bag, which is also waterproof to keep it in.
  2. Clothing: pair of socks, rain poncho/rain jacket, hat, gloves, scarf & spare top.
  3. Emergency: sleeping bag & blanket (mylar or the like) tarpaulin (shelter) cordage, 2 x black plastic bags, (bags can be used for insulation. filled with leaves for example), torch (with spare batteries), fire kit, 1 litre water bottle, with cook mug, a knife/multi tool & compass. Sleeping on the bare ground for the night, isn’t a good idea, as the earth can sap a lot of your body heat, you need to have some form of insulation or be off the ground.
  4. Food: coffee, soup, energy bars, boil in the bag meal, can be eaten hot or cold.
  5. Personal hygiene kit: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet roll/tissues/handee towel, sunblock & insect repellent. (all are put in to small containers) except for sunblock and repellent.

Common sense plays a big part in what anyone chooses to do, or not do. People often see things differently, what is important to one, may not be to another.

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Day Trips for the Uninspired: Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast

I must admit Gina and I had never heard of Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae, until I saw an article in a blog I was reading. The blog pointed me to their Facebook page, so as, we are always on the lookout for new places to visit, I thought I would take a look, I liked what I read, so say, no more.

Gina and I set off to go and visit Nga Manu today, we left Woodville just after 8am we arrived at the reserve a little after 10.30am, as we had booked to go on a bird feeding tour at 11am.

I must admit upon reaching Waikanae, we didn’t get lost once, Nga Manu, is clearly signposted, all the way to the reserve.  We would have been there earlier but we had to stop for our coffee fix and something to eat, as neither of us had, had any breakfast.

As we got out of the car in the car park, we were greeted by two Kereru (NZ wood pigeons)  perched up in the tree, above us.  As we walked towards the main reception building, we could hear different birds calling, making their presence known.

We were greeted at reception by Joanne, who gave us a map which included information on the attractions at Nga Manu. As it happened, Joanne was also our guide, on the bird feeding tour.

While we were waiting for the tour to begin, Gina and I waited outside by the pond. We were greeted by friendly ducks and Pukeko. I must say its the closest I have ever been to one.  Then to top it off, I turned around and there were Black Swans in close proximity as well. Which was a real bonus for me, as I often spend time lurking in and around waterways and bushes, trying to get photos of them.

At 11am we set off with Joanne on the bird feeding tour around the aviaries, which Gina and I thoroughly enjoyed, it was very informative and we got to feed the birds. Thanks Joanne. The tour is a must do, if you have the time. We saw Kakariki (NZ Parakeet) Kaka, Kea, Scaup (diving ducks) Kiwi, plus many more.  We also saw the Tuatara (rare NZ reptile).  The only thing, that put a dampener on the tour was my camera’s sd cards failing, so I have no photos of the aviary tour. Good excuse for us to go back again:-) not that we need one.

After the tour was over, we walked around some more of the reserve. We saw many more species of birds including Tui , White faced heron and Monarch butterflies on swan plants. We then made our way up to the lookout tower, the views were amazing. We also visited, Fern Island, Preservation Island and BBQ Island the only things we didn’t get to finish were the bush walk and to feed the eels.

There are plenty of places to sit down and take a load off or have a picnic. The grounds are well maintained, both the pathways and broadwalks  make for easy walking, especially if you have a wheelchair or baby buggy. I must say it is one of the best places we have been to, so far, that enables easy access for anyone in or with, a wheelchair or buggy.

Admission and tours are very reasonably priced. More details can be found on Nga Manu Nature Reserve, website.

As usual but all to soon, it was time to head for home.  If you are looking for great place to visit, Gina and I highly recommend Ngu Manu Nature Reserve, in Waikanae.