Thursday, February 6, 2014

Austrian visitors get to meet a real kiwi - finally

Thursday, February 6, 2014
oldbearnews editor
The first dawned a bit sad - grey and overcast and cold and with drizzle.  It was almost a indoor day. Still - we had one last thing that needed to be done - not that we had no opportunity to do this either in Hokitika or in Queenstown, just that on those two locations we were far to busy to do the out-door stuff.  So we knew it could keep till we are back in Christchurch.  So after a leisurely breakfast and general laziness we rugged up and got the cold weather gear out and drove 5 minutes down to road from us - where is located a place called Willowbank.  Local school / Scout children will know this well - it is a outdoor zoo like you may not have seen before.  It is very much a wild-ish sort of place with animals caged that need to be - but other then that it is pretty much as nature had intended to be that environment.  Well - mostly.  Seeing it was cold - some 13 degrees only and drizzly - the outdoor animals were in no mood to be playful let alone entertaining the visitors. There are several feeding stations and the eels came willingly - but then they live in the water.  This little wallaby was soon going back into her mother's pouch and not much was seen of him. It must be a very stretchy pouch - or has some magic Potter type properties . . .

Next up a pair of otters. They at least were playful - but then again they half live in the water.  The keepers are hoping that one of them is soon going to be expecting baby otters.  We shall see if there is going to be the pitta-patter of otter steps
 They had about 10 or more Keas in the enclosure - noisy birds too- None performed to fly or show their undercolor - so you have to trust me - it is a fiery red!!  We have been there previously with Martina and luckily for us we timed it right that a guy came and did a tour with a group and part of that tour was a talk AND feeding of the kea's much to our amusement then.
 Ahhhh yes - finally we get to meet one of the locals.  Actually the Kiwi is a nocturnal bird - as in it sleeps during the sunsine hours and is awake at night. Given the undergrowth present at parts of the enclosure - you can book a night tour and see - or perhaps not see - them at night at their "normal" behaviour time!!  However - the staff are very understanding and have 4 Kiwis inside a building where their day has been turned upside down.  During our daytime the lights are turned of and there is a smattering of 'red' light. Silence is required in order to not to scare the birds and also absolutely NO flashlight in any shape or form!! Which makes for challenging picture taking. Bernhard tried very hard - but I already knew there was no point so - left my camera at home.
<----- can you spot the Kiwi????
It is visible - just - or more to the point his beak is just visible.  After that we had lunch - actually in the local mall down the road (where everyone had something different - and what they wanted) and then we went across town to introduce them to Raukura - my NZ daughter and her son Noah.  Friendly chat and then it was time to head back home and cook dinner for the night, and crack open a special bottle and celebrate our time together.
This was all yesterday


Thursday 6th of February 2014 - is - well a sunny day but the hearts are heavy! Today is the day we say goodbye to our visitors - but not before - urm - well - no. 
There was not much to pack and they were ready to go by 9.30am - not that we had to be at the airport before 3pm.  So the rest of the day was spent with gossiping / a card game and lunch.  In hindsight it would have been better to go out in the morning - maybe re-visit Brighton Beach, or into the Botanical gardens (which we had not seen yet)!  It might have taken their minds of the upcoming 24 hr plane journey.  We rolled out the red-white-red carpet again.

They seem to have done best while we were away!

 The two bungy jumpers needed to record their heroic deeds and so got together and shared in the moment of madness.  You are a special breed if you have done this jump!!  Well done both of you

There remained only two things to do, before we could put our feet up!
One - obviously  we had to take them to the airport.  That we did. In good time. Plenty of time.

At the airport - I surprised Doris with a present that Cousin Martina will understand only to well.  This of course contributed to more tears.

Once they said their farewells the travellers are ushered into a 'holding-cell' - the international departure lounge - where you wait 'till your boarding call is announced.  For us non-travelling folks - once they go through the sliding doors - this is it. We will not see them again. Not like in the old days where you could be on the roof and see them walking across the tarmac and frantically wave.  So there is no reason to hang around the airport - so we went home.  Our home is less then 10 minutes drive from the airport and as long as there is a easterly wind - (which is on most days) the planes zip right past our place and then go wherever they need to go! In fact if you know where and what to look for you can spot our house while flying past!!

One thing that beat us home - and this is only since recently - is by the time we got home, we had already a Facebook entry / picture on our computer -   of Doris and Bernhard sitting INSIDE the 'holding pen' awaiting their boarding call.


As said before we have enough time to get home and pour a glass of wine and sit on the terrace and wait for the the plane engines to whine up and then . . . . . . .

 - voila - Salut - Prost -  Cheers
Doris and Bernhard - save travels!!

Thanks for all the good memories

We may see you in Vienna in 5 years time- assuming we can save enough 'til then . . . .

And yes - more tears were shed!
Just like when I took Martina to the Airport!

Here they go - I waves goodbye


hmmmmmm - I think I have forgotten something - oh yeah - we still have one chap from Austria here.  :)   Better get my act together and - wait - urm - yeah  pick him up from the bus station tomorrow - he will be coming up from Dunedin via Bus - so that was when- wait were is that paper . . . . 

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