New Zealand

5th November - 4th December 2005

Paparoa National Park

The scenery on the west coast is quite beautiful, and you get plenty of time to admire it on the slow, twisty road north...

Coastal scenery between Greymouth and Westport

About halfway between Greymouth and Westport, there is an area of particularly stratified limestone rock formations...

Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki

There are a number of arches and blowholes here that are supposedly quite spectacular but it was low tide and the sea was not particularly rough on the evening I visited. I had to wait ages for a wave big enough to take the photo below...

Sunset over Pancake Rocks

The Nikau Palm is the world's most southerly growing palm tree and, despite being quite close to its southern limit, it grows abundantly along the Paparoa coastline.

Nikau Palm (Palmae rhopalostylis)

I spent a total of 3 days in Paparoa National Park camping in the wilderness; a densely forested limestone landscape which is littered with hidden sinkholes, caves and deep chasms.

Male Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)

In the open area around the abandoned farm at the end of the Bullock Creek Road (accessed 1km north of Pancake Rocks) a pair of Paradise Shelduck were frequently seen roosting in the trees.

Female Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)

Female Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)

The Shining Cuckoo is generally quite secretive and is a hard bird to see. The bird below was singing in the middle of a bush and it was quite difficult to get an angle that didn't have branches completely obscuring its face.

Bronze Shining-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

Tomtit and Bellbird were common...

Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala)

Bellbird (Anthornis melanura)

...and the Robins along the track down to Cave Creek were ridiculously tame. One of them landed on the leg of my tripod while it was still on my shoulder only milimetre's away from my hand, and another one bounced up my arm while I was lying on the ground trying to photograph it!

New Zealand Robin (Petroica australis)

On the insect front, New Zealand Red Admirals were common along the forest glades. Also seen (but not photographed) were Magpie Moths (Nyctemera amica), a black and white day-flying moth, and Bush Giant Dragonfly (Uropetala carovei).

New Zealand Red Admiral (Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla)

Paparoa National Park is one of the strongholds for Great Spotted Kiwi, and they can be frequently heard calling in the forests. One female even woke me up one night when it called from just outside of my tent. Unfortunately the bulb on my torch had blown a few hours earlier when I was out looking for owls, so the only views I got were of a faint shadow sniffing around in the undergrowth. Very frustrating!

Tree Fern branch - the emblem of the All Blacks rugby team

Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers New Zealand map