Inspite the heavy tiredness of the evening before the night is over at 5 in the morning. My German alarm clock insists on showing CET, 5 p.m. So, no wonder I just toss and turn anxiously in my bed. We ordered breakfast for 8 o’clock, “continental breakfast”, what else. Elizabeth pampers us with self-made yoghurt. Muesli, jam and honey are also home made. Actually there is no reason to be unhappy but … somehow I miss the variety of German bread. Always toast or white bread - but we knew that before we came.
Elizabeth has got quite a lot of suggestions to configure our day interesting. We decide to spend our time on a walk in Shakespear Park (it’s indeed written without the –e!), a nature reserve down at the end of the Whangaparaoa peninsula. Where the peninsula is narrowest they built a pest fence, a fence to keep out all kinds of vermin as rodents and other mammals that might endanger the birds living there. The newly formed habitat behind that fence has been cleared of all these vermin eventually imported to New Zealand. The park is being cared for by enthusiastically working rangers and most of all a lot of voluntary hands. You can find this principle quite often in New Zealand. They realized how much precious nature has been destroyed by human misbehaviour and now try to make at least some amends.
Due to the remains of our jetlag we are en route very early and therefore barely meet other walkers. The park visitors above all crowd the main beach, nevertheless their number is manageable. We can take our time and enjoy unhurriedly the bird life of this beautiful part of the earth. Elizabeth warned us: Right at the beginning of the path we are startled by large New Zealand Wood Pigeons (Kereru). You just hear the rustling of their wings. Though if you only stand still for a while and listen you will here a lot of chirping all around you. Two tiny ones are landing right in front of us; later we learn they are Fantails. Most fun we have with the green Karakiris, those we see here aren’t shy at all. And above all the constant calls of the Tuis.
Ascending from the trough of the bush you reach the meadows of the reserve, full of sheep. We at once feel like being in Scotland! Gernot succeeds in taking some beautiful snapshots. One highlight is a Silver Eye who seems to specially pose for us in a blooming flax.
3 ½ hours later after crossing bush and open landscape and even a beach we finally come back to our car. And despite all precaution we have both got a proper sun tan. So: This nature reserve is definitely advisable!
As we both are not willing yet to go back to our accommodation we take the other direction and head for the Puhoi Valley. Elizabeth talked about the cheese factory over there. We allow ourselves a portion of the award-winning ice cream. We are not able to visit the Bohemian village and museum though, the day has been long enough without that. We still haven’t found our New Zealand rhythm yet. The recommended Indian restaurant has to cope without us again, we are now used to cookies for diner. Doesn’t matter, sleep overpowers us very fast.