NZ Day 23: A much needed day off

When we got back from the canoe trip we had to make some hard scheduling decisions. We had only six days left before our flight in New Plymouth.

According to the original itinerary, we should have already done the Tongariro Crossing, giving us plenty of time to cycle towards Egmont National Park, and check out the Goblin Forest hiking trail. But now we had to choose between the two: Tongariro Crossing, or Goblin Forest?

We were absolutely exhausted, and we really wanted to spend a day resting instead of traveling. Also, the hotel offered a shuttle ride directly to and from the Tongariro Crossing trailheads. I poked around and discovered a bus connection from Taumarunui to New Plymouth, and that gave us a pretty good plan: Rest up today, do the crossing tomorrow, and then cycle downhill out of National Park towards Taumarunui the next day. The ride would be nothing but easy downhill, so we wouldn’t be taxing ourselves for two days in a row.

With the decision made, we booked another day at the hotel, then rode out and stuffed ourselves silly at the restaurant.

While eating I saw this in the newspaper rack:

This was in the paper the day after we got back. Whew, close one!

Looks like we finished our river trip just in time! Now here’s hoping the weather stays clear for the next day, while we’re doing the Tongariro Crossing…

It’s funny… I think if we’d only spent a week or a few days in New Zealand we wouldn’t have seen enough to realize how much we missed. But a month is enough to see and try many things, and pick up ideas for many more along the way… We skipped the dolphin encounter, White Island, skydiving, Sanctuary Mountain, Frying Pan Lake, various caves, and all the museums along the way so far…

We could always see more on a second trip, but if we do come back, it will be to cross the south island. Oh well. Life is too short!

Inside the paper I found this editorial:

1080 is a poison that is formed into large pellets and dropped into the forest by helicopter. First they make a "feeder batch" of pellets that contains no poison and drop it into the woods, to get the critters used to eating it. Then they drop a load of 1080. The idea is to kill possums and other mammal pests that are terrorizing the native birds, without the invasive process of setting traps. There are concerns about the poison creeping into waterways, about other animals dying from eating contaminated corpses, and about kiwi birds eating them directly and dying. What I like about this editorial is that it claims the people opposed to 1080 are an illogical "brigade", and then fails to present even a single referenced fact as counterpoint - just a lot of angry bluster. Good job, Richard Steele. Not.

1080 is a poison that is formed into large pellets and dropped into the forest by helicopter.

First they make a “feeder batch” of pellets that contains no poison and drop that into the woods, to get the critters used to eating it. Then they drop a load of 1080.

The idea is to kill possums and other mammal pests that are terrorizing the native birds, without the invasive process of setting traps. There are concerns about the poison creeping into waterways, about other animals dying from eating contaminated corpses, and about kiwi birds eating them directly and dying.

What I like about this editorial is that it claims the people opposed to 1080 are an illogical “brigade”, and then fails to present even a single referenced fact as counterpoint – just a lot of angry bluster.

Good job, Richard Steele! Not.

Where do I stand on this issue as a tourist? Am I even allowed to take a position, given the contradictory nature of my presence here? I was drawn to New Zealand in part by the native wildlife, but by tromping around I contribute to its degradation. I guess I’m on the side of the 1080 users – it seems to be better than doing nothing – but poisons are always nasty things and I sympathize with those who are alarmed to find trace amounts of it showing up in unexpected places.

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