Saturday, February 20, 2016

A walk in the bush

Auckland so far has been hot, humid, and sometimes rainy. Not quite the dose of New Zealand sunshine we were looking forward to, but it seems to be clearing up now. We ventured out between rain showers to do a short walk in the "bush" (forest) in the Waitakere Ranges, not far from where my parents live.



Being away for so long is helping me see my native country with new eyes, and having gotten used to European forests, the New Zealand bush suddenly looks quite exotic. New Zealand's long geographical isolation means many of its native species are not found elsewhere in the world (and accounts for the many flightless native birds and the lack of native mammals). The profusion of ferns and palm trees in particular makes the New Zealand bush quite visually distinct from forests elsewhere in the world.




Blue skies appeared towards the end of our walk

A giant kauri, about a thousand years old



One reason people may be more familiar with the look of the New Zealand bush these days is, of course, the Lord of the Rings movies (and The Hobbit I suppose, I haven't seen it). My mum remarked that, after seeing the films, she half expected to stumble across hobbits in the woods near their house. I thought particularly of the hobbits hiding from the Nazgul near the beginning of the first film.

Source

When presented with some gnarled tree roots, however, I chose to channel my inner Gollum.



We finished off the day by going to a nearby RSA (this is I think like the Veterans' Association, assuming the Veterans Association runs pubs where veterans and general old people hang out) for a pub quiz. This was as much a way to stay awake until bed time as anything, since I'd been up for a few hours in the night and then woke up at 6 in the morning, yay. But we ended up taking out first place! Granted, not against the stiffest of competition, but since in Brussels we are always determinedly middle of the pack in our local pub quiz, it was a nice change!

I sadly won't be around to profit from the unbelievable prize

3 comments:

  1. Great pics (the bush looks very lush) - makes me see it with new eyes, too...

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  2. It does look exotic to my European eyes!

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  3. Congrats on the pub quiz win. I've always been determinedly middle of the pack.

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