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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Is that R2D2? (Day 103)

Imagine walking along a track, with rain forest all around and suddenly…what was that noise? Are we in the middle of a Star Wars movie? Has George Lucas joined Peter Jackson here in New Zealand? We are sure we can hear R2D2. No, it can’t be.

And then we look up, there in the tree is some kind of black bird, in fact when it moves into the light, it has a beautiful iridescent sheen and a weird white tuft sticking out below its throat. What a noise! We find out later that it is a Tui, a native bird found in most parts of New Zealand. It really did sound like R2D2.

We were on a 3.5 hour circular walk from Oban, and not only the Tui greeted us, but also a number of New Zealand fantails, with their friendly “cheet cheet” call and flying acrobatics. They are very sociable birds, coming within a metre of us, teasing us as each time we tried to photograph them, they would twitch their fantail and dart off.

Our walk started along some old disused logging roads leading us to the Ryan’s Creek track. Walking through thick forest with wonderful canopies across the path, opens up to grassland by an estuary which used to be the site of an old sawmill. The track then took us back into the forest winding up and down along the coast to Vaila Voe, with scenic views of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, passed Thule Bay, skimming the side of Golden Bay, taking us back along a road to Halfmoon Bay where we diverted off to Fuchsia Walk, a very pleasant trek.

During the first 2 hours we only saw 3 people: first was a Ranger, who we walked with and chatted to for about 5 minutes. He was walking to one of the many huts in the Rakiura National Park, to ensure trekkers had paid for their stay, and check out the pathways were in good order. Next was a young lady walking plugged in to her headphones, and I am sure I heard her singing at one point. Then came a very fit young man running with a groovy little ponytail, who quickly greeted us and shared he was pleased that the rain had stopped.

Here we are in this magical place, listening to the birds and their amazing sounds, with the water lapping onto the beach down below, then the peacefulness was broken by a group of 6 young people marching past us in trekking gear, carrying their rucksacks. I commented to Tim that they were missing so much, they failed to hear the Tui and its weird and wonderful sounds. Tim is so wise. He said that perhaps they were aiming to get to a hut before it got dark.

He is so right. We can make judgement of other people’s journeys, however we are all on our own unique journey. Some travellers enjoy the physical challenge, or raising their adrenaline levels (I am sure we will meet a few of these in Queenstown). Others may be searching and finding themselves (not yet realising that they just need to look within) and some enjoy being in the moment. Whatever the journey, this is the right journey for them, and for us all.

(Btw, we did find the other end of the chain link in Bluff…)

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