Holiday Nature Encounters

On my recent Christmas holiday in New Zealand, nature encounters abounded, reminding me of nature’s wonder, power and fragility and how integral to our lives it is. Here’s some interactions I experienced:

Pohutukawa by Mangawhai Estuary

Marvelling at blooming pohutukawa’s (kiwi Christmas trees)
Swimming in rivers encased by ponga trees and chirping native bush
Planning ocean edge walks around the tide times to avoid getting stranded (and wet feet)
Appreciating birdsong while lying in my tent
Sand being whipped into our faces disrupting a family beach wine and cheese evening
Finishing the last moments of 2019 star gazing

Mangawhai cliff/beach walk

Eating local seasonal stone fruit and luscious berries
Morning runs through serene bush and on beaches dotted with shells and fellow wanderers
Bone-chilling yet rejuvenating swims in frothy waves
Hiking up to a peak enshrouded in mist with no view (definitely a case of being more about the journey than the destination)
Startling a kereru (New Zealand endemic pigeon) while silently padding along a trail
Hazy skies and blood red suns swept in New Zealand from the Australian bush fire smoke

Waitawheta River

And as always our impact on nature was considered in many ways:

Washing shoes before entering the bush to prevent the spread of Kauri dieback disease
Conversing about the Australian bush fires and their devastating impact on the landscape, air quality, wildlife and people’s livelihoods
Questioning whether the volcanic eruption on Whakaari (White Island) could have been predicted
Discussing whether enough action is being taken on climate change
Considering whether to offset carbon emissions from my flight
Giving creatively ‘less impactful’ presents – homemade, recycled and second-hand

Conservation priorities at Dickey Flat, Karangahake Gorge

How have you interacted with nature lately? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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