© 2017 mikeandbrynne

Secluded Beaches, Waterfalls & Kiwi Hunting

Day 2- Kiwi Hunting

I woke up with a start early Monday morning. Had Lily really slept through the night??  I had been prepared to have her up and crying half the night like she did our first night in Sweden a year and a half ago. Brutal. Not this time. I fell back on my pillow in absolute bliss. 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Ahhhhhhh. Vacation. 

Our cottages had been stocked with Kiwi (New Zealander) breakfast items and Mike and I left Daisie with Luke and Lily to enjoy their breakfast while we went on a morning run through the vineyards. Perfect temp. Perfect weather. The kids all basked in the beautiful morning before we sadly packed our bags, bid farewell to our new friends and hit the road. 

 I remember being worried about visiting New Zealand during their busy summer months. Maybe my concern was unfounded. We didn’t see a single soul on our tramp and we had the entire Tasman Sea as far as the eye could see to ourselves. Gorgeous. 


My friend Jonah Eyre who lived in New Zealand for a year recommended that we take one “tramp” (New Zealand’s word for hike) each day. This advice seemed sound to us so we set off on an obscure trek down the Tasman Sea across pastures and over fences. It was lovely.

We came to a deserted beach, where a freshwater creek fell 20 feet down onto the sand.  We were able to shower off from the hike, the saltwater, the sand.  Sort of like the public beach showers in Huntington Beach…

Kai Iwi Lakes

Our next destination was Kai Iwi lakes- beautiful, crystal blue, “Caribbean-esque” fresh water lakes just a few kilometers inland from the Tasman Sea.

Kauri Coast Top 10 Holiday Campground

We booked two little family cabins in a kid friendly campground just outside of Trounson Kauri  Park. The campground was beautifully situated between a river and a stream in a fairly remote area which afforded great adventure, but nowhere to grab dinner for our six starving children.

In the campground office, they had a tiny store.  We bought all the cereal, milk, pasta noodles and ramen that they had left. I hadn’t eaten like that since college–surprisingly the kids loved it. They also loved the playground and “flying fox” (The local term for Zipline). 

Spotting Kiwis in the Wild

Trounson is considered one of the best places in New Zealand to try and spot a Kiwi bird in the wild.  Kiwis are nocturnal and are very sensitive to noise, light and movement.  But due to their colorblindness, Kiwis can’t see red light (but they can definitely hear six children…..)

After dark, we “tramped” into the Kauri park with a giant “red light” we had rented from the campground to hunt for a Kiwi.  Each of the kids were impressed upon with the necessity of being completely quiet if we wanted our mission to be successful.  Into the pitch black forest we headed after spraying our shoes with an anti-fungal to protect the giant Kauri trees. The kids were awesome……especially that little Lily we were worried about and Taylor was a rock star for carrying her on his back until 11:30p. Thanks Tay!  

Kiwis (the bird not the natives who are also called Kiwis!) let out a loud eerie cry and have big webbed feet that make a lot of noise in the leaves and foliage. It wasn’t long before we could hear them calling to each other and even hear footsteps in the brush.  With little kids clinging to me trying desperately to be quiet, we searched. It took all the willpower Luke and Daisie possessed to not yell out when the Kiwi we had been hunting came into view. Success!!  

We heard several more Kiwis throughout our hunt and even heard one run right past us (only Tay saw it), but it wasn’t until the end of our hunt that we all saw one more Kiwi. On the journey we also saw several colonies of glow worms and the giant Kauri trees in all their glory. 

Far too late we collapsed into our little cabins and slept deeply.