Moeraki New Zealand Day 2

Today is my second day in Moeraki. On the agenda today is to go see the famous boulders on the beach then head back to Katiki Point to try to catch a sight of penguins again.

I enjoy the cooler weather with a yogurt, granola and banana with a coffee looking at the water below.

Yummy yogurt from the local store

I watch the boats heading out for a day’s fishing.

The best time to see the boulders is a low tide. Today that is scheduled at 11:30 am.

I walk along the road a little bit until I reach a now partially closed path. I take the Millennium track toward the beach. It seems like the track was longer in the past (closer to my holiday park) but erosion has made part of the trail unsafe. The brush is slightly overgrown. I am wishing I would have worn long pants today.

I finally make it to the beach where it is nice and calm. There are very few people on the beach but I do notice a dead seal. It is really sad to see. Luckily it has been removed before my walk back.

I make it down to Moeraki Boulders Beach to look at the unique boulders. The boulders were formed around 60 million years ago during the early Paleocene. They are now being uncovered due to coastal erosion.

I head up to the nearby café to order some fish chowder.

Moeraki Boulders Cafe

After lunch I walk back to the holiday park back along the beach.

I hop carefully from rock to rock to a secluded area. I savor the sounds of the ocean and birds. It is very calm here. I notice tide starting to rise. Not wanting to get “trapped” I head back the way I came. I think this probably used to be part of that now defunct track.

I notice different types of flowering plants on my walk back.

I relax for a little while before heading back to the Katiki Point to try to get some more penguin viewing. Today I end up seeing only one penguin.

He goes away from view for a while so I end up looking at some more seals.

The penguin moves uphill where I snap a couple more pictures.

I drive back to the campsite but first stop by the village to walk around. There isn’t much to the village but a pier and a nice restaurants. I have food to eat back at the campsite so I forgo the restaurant.

Cool campervan I see

Back at my campervan I set up a semi-healthy dinner. I make a large salad but can’t resist butter bread with this spectacular butter (I feel like an influencer now, they should be paying me).

I love my stop in Moeraki. If I had more time I would have checked out the nearby towns of Dunedin and Oamaru. Oamaru in particular has the Steampunk HQ: a funky museum of all things steampunk (a missed opportunity on the drive into Moeraki). I just kept missing the window of opening hours so I regret not stopping on the way. I think it would have been fun to visit.

Tomorrow I head further south to Te Anau to get closer to Milford Sound. Loving my visit to New Zealand so far.

Fauna Australia Wildlife Retreat

My lodging for tonight is at Fauna Australia Wildlife Retreat (Update: currently closed due to COVID).

The retreat rescues and rehabilitates animals. Guests can stay at the retreat and learn about their rescue efforts while also supporting the organization by paying to stay at the retreat.

There are a set of rooms accessible from outside the retreat but my lodging is in a cabin inside the retreat. There is a deer that follows me to my cabin.

The retreat technically doesn’t rescue deer but the story is that this guy just showed up and hasn’t gone away since.

The cabin is family sized and big for just me but it is all that is available at the time of booking.

I drop my bags and take a couple carrots to go meet some animals on site.

On my first day I only notice the caged koalas. I find out the next day that most of the koalas on site are able to roam free and the caged are baby koalas that don’t have the intelligence to not wander off and get hurt; they are enclosed for their protection. The adults stick around because they are fed regularly.

Fenced in area.

Creepy deer that follows me everywhere. I am getting stalked for my carrots.

I have a stalker

After handing out some carrots I go back to my cabin to settle in before I head out to see glow worms tonight.

Melba Gully Glow Worms

There is a short drive from the retreat to the Melba Gully Day Visitor Area (Great Otway National Park). Tonight I want to see glow worms since there is only a few places in the world you can view them. Glow worms (Arachnocampa otwayensis) are the bioluminescent larvae of small flies seen at night only along the stream banks and walking tracks.

I am a terrible judge of when nightfall is. I arrive to the Melba Gully trail and I am the only car there. It is still light outside but the sun is setting. I am starting to question that this solo visit is a good idea. I gather my headlamp and head down the path anyway.

I arrive at a clearing where I get a nice view of dusk.

I take the walking track toward the glowworm viewing.

One of the walkway paths

I am walking on a path through a rainforest. It is damp and I see a stream of water and listen to its meditative flow. Darkness unfolds. It is almost pitch back except for a slight bit of sunsetting light. I can’t see what is around me but I hear water flowing below and the sound of something moving around in the dark maybe; or maybe I just the hear water hitting rocks, or maybe it is an animal. Almost an hour has passed and I am still out here alone. This seems to be turning out to be another one of those “this isn’t the best idea and I could get murdered” situations; I have had a few of these traveling solo but have been lucky thus far. I walk back and forth along the boardwalk and start spotting a glow worm or two as it finally darkens. They are hard to see but I start picking them out.

I don’t have the right camera for taking pictures of glow worms but I do capture a couple.

Can you see it?
How about these guys????

They are really cool to see but I just can’t stick around. I have already been here over an hour all alone. I am scared and feel like I am pressing my luck as far as safety is concerned. As I take the return journey I walk by a couple arriving, and then a family, and then another. I have already made it so far back on the trail and feel committed to leaving. I return to my car even though it most likely it would have been safe to stay at this point. At least I see SOME glow worms….and luckily I’ll get another chance in New Zealand.

I drive back to the retreat. It is getting chilly so looking forward to cuddling under blankets tonight. I do spot this nocturnal guy on my walk back.

Sorry for flashing light in your eyes lil buddy

The next morning I wake up early as I always do. They have a set checkout time and I have a while to wait so I walk around the grounds greeting some more animals and handing out the rest of my carrots.

creepy flying foxes giving me the eye

The Kangaroos

On my way out I get to meet some of the retreat staff members and have a meet and greet with the three naughty baby koalas. I learn many things about koalas.

I like how they don’t encourage guests to handle the animals. They seem to do a good job with rehabilitation.

Below is a little video of all the animals I see….

This lodging is a unique experience. I am so glad I found it.

Ubud Monkey Forest

My hotel in Ubud is very close to the Monkey Forest down the street.

If I am being honest I am not a big fan of monkeys. I can watch them at a distance but really have no desire to get close to one. I know they can be mean and nasty. Later in my Ubud visit I learn to dislike them even more (more on that later). Because it is such a big attraction in the area and so close I decide to go ahead and visit the Ubud Monkey Forest.

Upon entering the park there are some fun statues.

Candi Terbelah – owl

From what I understand the monkeys (Macaca fascicularis or Balinese long-tailed macaque) are free to come and go from the park but stay because they are fed and feel safe within the park.

This guy below is not one I would like to get into an altercation with.

I got to see lots of grooming, eating, and other tender moments.

But I also saw some jungle territorial action and some obviously bored animals. Definitely an interesting day visit but can’t say I’ll be back again.

Later in the evening I stop for a cocktail. I let the server talk me into an arak cocktail before I am fully aware of the dangers of that liquor. The drink is called Arak Attack that tastes what I believe like cat pee would taste like. Note: I get sick a day later. This drink could have been the cause of that illness.

It is ten months later and I am still alive so the drink obviously did not kill me but still not one of my brightest choices……

Peru 2018! Amazon Day 1

I had one day of rest in my room of Cusco and then it was off again. This time I am heading to the Amazon. One of the downsides of organized tours that there is very little downtime and if you happen to get sick like I did then you need to just suck it up and push through (like I did) or go home early (like I should have done).
We have a short flight to Puerto Maldonado where we store the majority of our luggage in an upstairs office of some sort of transportation center. I should mention that there are many times we just leave our luggage during this trip and at no time was there any fear that it would be messed with. I guess that is one of the advantages of tour travel vs backpacking and having to fend for yourself.

After our luggage drop off we arrive at the river embankment and board our boat for the couple hour boat ride to our lodge for the next two days.

Lunch is served in leaf bag and whatever it was, it was delicious.

After our lunch there are very scenic views of the river. As well as some wildlife watching.

We spot a capybara family hanging in the mud.

Also tons of butterflies trying to take a drink of water on the rocks.

Soon enough we arrive at the lodge.

We start at the main building and are giving all the rules and information we need for our stay. They are serious about conservation here so we are told about how generations are only on for certain periods of time. If you have things to charge, make sure you have them plugged in during those windows. It is warm but I am surprisingly comfortable in my lodging with the fans that are available.

Happy hour in the lodge!

My home for the next couple days – single cabin all for me.

Make sure you use the net at night!

Once we settle in we put on our boots and go for a nighttime nature hike.
We see some ants, lots of spiders, and a stick bug.

Arriving back at lodge we are served dinner and I enjoy a caprihina from the bar. I am still fighting a cold so I head to bed early for the next day’s activities.