“We all have a dinosaur deep within us just trying to get out” – Colin Mochrie
My meeting with a Velociraptor
Canada has its moose, Australia has its wallaby’s, and Ecuador has its lama’s, New Zealand has its birds. It has some of the strangest ones. They are quite cheeky, like the Kea. This oversized mountain parrot loves to attack cars, pulling off pieces of rubber and windshield wipers.
They remind many unfortunate tourist of the dangers of New Zealand wildlife. Ferocious creatures out to steal your stuff. Their cheekiness comparable to breakfast stealing monkeys in India.
My favorite bird is without doubt the savage weka.
The mighty Weka
Many stories are accredited to the weka. You can find them pretty much anywhere bushy in New Zealand. They steal anything that they can carry off: sandals, camera’s, food, … They peck at your tent and legend has it that they once raided a lonely camper and ate him alive.
The weka is the living proof that dinosaurs have as a matter of fact evolved into birds. Every time I encounter one, I have a flashback to my early childhood, watching the raptors in the Jurassic Park movies. They move and act exactly the same. What is worse, we have 3 of them now living around our home. I just know they are plotting a coup, muttering away in the bushes.
If you ever want to see the real Jurassic Park, come to New Zealand. The birds here are probably the closest you will ever get to a real dinosaur. Make sure you armor yourself with heavy items and know how to protect yourself when the dinosaur mistakes you for its dinner.
Because it is, by rule, forbidden to feed the weka.
I meet this example of ferociousness on my 3 day tramp through the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.
The Abel Tasman Coastal Track
You see them often on the track, which is a 60 km beach walk in the Abel Tasman National Park. It is the third time I do this tramp, I never tire of it. By far my favorite of all the New Zealand Great Walks. The best part is that most of the campsites are right on the beach. You get to wake up to a beautiful sunrise while you have your peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast.
The bare feet trampers are uncountable, because wearing shoes is optional. You will have to take them off a few times to cross low tide inlets. The weka’s eat most of the annoying tourists, supplying more space for the rest of us.
On my last night in the park, I meet some campers who had swam with baby seals the night before. Intrigued by their head torches the seals came to investigate. The next morning they passed by my tent which was set up next to the ocean at Anapai beach.
It is a common thing in New Zealand, to see seals and weka’s. But for me having grown up in developed Belgium, it still bewilders me how much wildlife you encounter here.
I am planning to forage my lunch from the beach in a couple of days. Yummy wildlife for my tummy! Read all about it in my next post!