Monthly Archives: April 2010

Weekend Visit

Down here in little ole’ NZ we’ve just had a four day weekend for Easter. We are five weeks into autumn, so it sort of signals the end of outdoor adventures for some people, and the beginning  for others!!

Poor PB spent a good part of his weekend at his work, due to being in the middle of a 13 day run of on call days.  And a lot of complicated things needed dealing to, so he really didn’t have a great time. On top of that he developed a really bad tooth ache, which resulted in having a tooth extracted this week. 😦

In the meantime, I was jaunting around the countryside with my brother & his friend! Our mission was to figure out a route for the 4WD trip that he is planning to lead over here in a few months.

At this stage it looks like it will be through some back roads and forestry land around the area of Lake Hochstetter.  

This lake is named after the Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who briefly surveyed some areas of New Zealand in 1859. A range of New Zealand plants and animals are named after Hochtetter including one of our frogs – Hochstetter’s Frog.  

This is a natural lake, but for 10 years or so from 1876 it was enlarged by putting a dam across one of the creeks that enter it. The water was used for mining. The ruins of this dam and its control gate can be seen today in the vicinity of the geocache:  GCX20B Control Gate.  There is also another cache by the lakeside: GCX58H Hochstetter near where the photo below was taken.    



Near  that cache location we had a close encounter with a weka, which is a very common and pesky New Zealand bird – fortunately a little more brainy than another common bird, the pukeko!!!  These birds have in the past been known as ‘ bush chickens’ – but it is now illegal to eat them, unless you live on The Chathams.

Bush Chicken

Along the road we saw a fantastic specimen of a native climber the Rata. This plant can either be a vine or a tree – or both! – in the course of its life span.

Rata vine growing on a tree

Rata Flowers

Another part of our weekend was chicken minding. I think the chicken would be glad that we wee only looking after them for one day, as we couldn’t find their food in the morning. They went a little hungry until lunch time after PB had found out WHERE the food was!!!

Regular Chickens

On Sunday my brother & I went on a bit of a photo taking trip around town so that I could get a photo for PJ’s weekly challenge at Flickr. See the Hoohaa 52 group for more photos  !!  And here is my eventual entry.


Of course we managed to fit a couple of family meals and some Easter Egg eating in there too!

Last Picture Taken Sunday

This is a strange one this week!!

My brother was here visiting for the weekend with a friend, and we were on a little photo taking tour. I am doing a weekly photo challenge that has a different theme each week. This week’s theme was ‘Water.’  My bro is a much more experienced photographer that me, so we tried a few different things. This just turned out to be the last one, not the best one!

Brown Grey River

Check out my Flickr photo stream for the one that made it into the challenge.

For more info on Last Photo Taken Sunday see Tracy’s blog at Tracy’s Topics!

Glacier Caching

We  managed to fit a couple of detours for caches into our weekend, as you do.

 One highlight as far as views go was this one: GC1PPX9 View of Franz Josef Glacier.   And because it was an earthcache it was all about what we could see around us!  A little bit of counting, a bit of geology and GPS skills, and off course the photo.  We were actually very fortunate as some tourists offered to take a photo of us. So, a rare piccy of us together.

Thanks to the tourists!

 This is the one we used for our cache log though:

Cache log photo

 It was also really fortunate that we had a stunning clear sunny day on Sunday. If we’d tried to do this cache on Saturday (not that we had time!!) our photo would have looked more like some of the other ones in the cache gallery.

Glacier View

Of course, if you are not into geology, there are always alternative explanations as to how the glacier got there!!


 We did a little detour to another cache GC160J5 Lookout Back There, which is near the Okarito Lagoon, and the forest where the Rowi live.  There was more beautiful scenery, and it proved the ‘Mountains to the Sea’ aspect of the National Park   really well.  From the lookout, I could look west and see the lagoon & the ocean, and look east to the mountains!

Looking east.

  Another very cool experience that we had was an encounter with a South Island Robin  (Petroica australis australis.) The bird we saw was most likely a male due to the distinct colours. He was a very confident little fellow – coming within a foot of me, and not leaving the area even when we were quietly moving about.  We have seen these little birds before – about the size of a chubby sparrow, with longer legs – but this was the closest encounter.  I think we may have been disturbing a few bugs, as we hunted the cache, which was no doubt what he was interested in.

Little Robin


There are four species of ‘robin’ in New Zealand (although they are not in fact in the same family as European Robins at all.)   The little fellow we saw is relatively common and his species is not considered to be significantly at risk, although population numbers are monitored.  This is in comparison to his close relative the Black Robin    (Petroica traverse) which once had a population of only 5 individuals  – including one female!!!

Robin View Two!

PB was actually on to the cache almost immediately, though the logs had warned us that it could require a bit of a search, being as it was under tree cover, with the GPS reluctant to zero. But with his usual skill, PB picked where it would be straight away.  The cache was a good one too – an ammo can, with a few good swaps in it. We dropped off a travel bug that we had with us since the Valentine’s Day event in Nelson. It’s a brand new TB which we’d been asked to place somewhere outside of the Nelson area by its owners.  So we left Little Red in the care of one of the other cache occupants.

Little Red & a friend