Eight year old KCC member Daniel tells us about his adventures around the South Island as a kiwi guardian.
In the school holidays I did The Kiwi Guardians adventures with my family. Toyota Kiwi Guardians is a new programme from the Department of Conservation to help families explore New Zealand’s great outdoors and take action for nature. We went around the South Island and visited lots of places that I’ve never been before. Mum planned our whole trip around where the Kiwi Guardians posts were.
We went on the Ferry from Wellington to Picton, then we drove to Blenheim for our first Kiwi Guardians Adventure. We went to Taylor River Reserve. I saw cool boulders with poems on them, and an old sawmill! We learnt how the river can flow really high sometimes.
The second one we did was down in Christchurch, called Riccarton Bush. I really enjoyed the walk in the bush, and lying down looking up at the tall trees above us. It was an amazing experience. I like climbing through the vines, they were quite strong and I got to hang like a monkey!
The next one was my favourite: we walked the Kepler – well, some of it, it is a very long trail! We liked the mossy logs and the beach. There wasn’t really sand, it was mostly smooth little rocks. We enjoyed skimming stones, and mum found something that we think is a piece of marble. We had to walk a long way to find the KG post, but we are glad we did.
We had to travel over near to Dunedin for all our other ones. We went sand duning at Sandfly Bay, where the sand flies around, but there are no sand flies! Dad pulled us on a tarp like we were on Santa’s sleigh! We visited Sinclair Wetlands, which was really different and the birds were REALLY loud there! We also went to Huriawa Peninsula, which had an awesome carved entrance. We nearly got lost, but then we met other people doing Kiwi Guardians and loving it as much as us.
Another one we did near Dunedin was Woodhaugh Gardens, we really did get lost there with all the little trails, it was so funny! There is a cool seesaw there and I went hunting for bugs too. Then we went to Lawyers Head. It was a big long walk because the road was closed. We met lots of happy dogs on our walk, and there were lots of people enjoying the sun. We loved the slimy Bull Kelp, it is enormous!
We almost couldn’t find Orokonui Ecosanctuary because it was so foggy! We could hardly see in front of us on the twisty road. But we could certainly hear the birds peeping and chirping happily when we arrived. The sanctuary is amazing and you can learn A LOT about birds and nature there. We were very excited to see Takahe 🙂
We did so many challenges and earned lots of Kiwi Guardians medals. Unfortunately we didn’t do all of them, because we didn’t have time on our road trip. But we are going to go back to do the ones we missed out because they all sound so cool and we all loved it so much!
I think Kiwi Guardians is amazing because it is so much fun – like a giant treasure hunt through nature. It gets people out and about into places they might not know to go and visit. It was the best way to break up a road trip – we wore ourselves out doing the challenges, and every night we slept like logs. There are some amazing things to see in nature, and I am so glad we got to enjoy these special places of New Zealand as a family.
Now we are planning our next Kiwi Guardians adventure, in the North Island! And before that I am going to earn some more badges, by being a kiwi guardian in my own back yard.