Day 24: Mel’s sleepy day

This morning, Eli made another new friend; the quietest duck we’ve ever met. He barely quacked at all while begging for scraps (the duck, not Eli!), which Eli gave him from our old bread. Eli was trying to teach him to jump… apparently ducks don’t jump, but if enticed with bread, they’ll flap upwards a bit.

After packing up camp, we drove a short ways (Eli drove, Mel snoozed) to the Pukaka Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, where they work hard to protect and increase populations of native birds. In particular, they take kiwi eggs from the wild, and hatch them with a much higher success rate, and then re-introduce the birds to the wild.  They also work with other species, like Kokako (pic below), Kaka, and Stitchbird. Human-introduced pest species have severely reduced bird populations all over the island, and they’re trying to help ward off extinction.

Then we (Eli) drove north farther to Napier. We drove around and looked at the art deco architecture, then stopped at the ocean spa and tried to get a really affordable massage. But as with all good things, you need a reservation, so we had a lovely soak in the spa, then hopped back in the car to find a campsite and call it an early night.

In Napier, we also stopped for our second Turkish Kabob evening, which was quite tasty.  Oh! And earlier in the day we made a short stop at Norsewool in the town of Norsewood. We checked out their seconds sock offerings, bought a few, and stopped for a snack. I had the most delicious-looking scone I’ve ever been served, but my sense of taste was distressingly gone at this point, so at least the texture was delicious!  Eli had his first carrot cake of the trip, very good. Apparently, carrot cake is a big thing here; most of the cafes have it, it’s usually homemade, and always a little different. I’m sure we’ll try it again before we leave!

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