New Zealand Day Twenty One: Farewell To New Zealand : A Final Hike And A Long Flight Home

New Zealand Day Twenty One: Farewell To New Zealand : A Final Hike And A Long Flight Home

New zealand Day Twentyone Auckland airportt hotel morning walk (3 of 27)
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I awoke with  a feeling of both excitement and regret my last morning in New Zealand. I was excited to be heading home after three weeks of grueling travel. It is always good to go home. But I also regretted leaving this beautiful country and the friendly people who live here.  I had an afternoon flight so I was able to get in one last hike. 

I chose this hotel since it was near a coastal walkway  and looked like a good place to search for  wildlife one last time. . I left early in the morning twilight hoping to watch the sunrise.I couldn’t find  a location with a good view  of the eastern horizon but I did catch a glimpse of closest star rising in our Southern Hemisphere.

I continued  my hike through some fields and came to the shore line of Manukau Harbor.  This is the second largest harbor in New Zealand and its narrow mouth leads out to the Tasmanian Sea.

The trail followed the shoreline.

Along the shore there were many harakeke and other plants that attracted many finch-like birds.

The harakeke or flax plant plays a central role in Maori culture. It is used by the native Maori to make cloths and baskets. .

I continued my walk along the shore under the brilliant early morning sun. I soon came to a wide canal with hundreds of different species of water birds swimming on its waters. 

It was amazing. I stumbled upon  gathering place for the fall migration of water birds in New Zealand.

There were dozens of black swans, 

paradise shelducks 

and New Zealand scaups swimming together  on the deep blue  waters of a long canal.

There were also some birds I was more familiar with,  the invasive mallard  duck and a flock of Canada geese.

A few white-faced herons were also wading along the shore or soaring above the canal. Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw on my morning hike. New Zealand Day Twenty One morning hike birds. 

It was a delightful place to spend my last few hours  in this  beautiful country. I learned from an informational sign that there was a migration and nesting center about a half mile further down the trail. Seeing all these birds on these canals I would have loved to visit this area.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time. I had to return to my hotel, pack and get to the airport for my afternoon flight. 

I took a slow walk under the intense morning sun, knowing it would be some time before I will be this far south on this planet I share with all my fellow creatures. I noticed a hill in the distance and learned it was once a volcano.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my last walk in New Zealand. New Zealand Day Twenty One morning hike 

I returned to my hotel, had breakfast, and took the shuttle  to the airport. I was soon on my plane and embarking on my first of  a series of flights to return to my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The first flight was a 12 hour flight over the south Pacific. I landed in Las Angeles at sunrise. I  was very fortunate  to have a Global Access card or I would never have made it through immigration for my 5 hour  flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. 

After a short layover in Charlotte I had another 2 hour flight to Newark. It was around 8 p.m. when I arrived. I was still over a 100 miles from home. I  wasn’t going to take the 2 hour drive at night and settled in to  hotel at the airport for the night. I awoke early the next morning and was soon on the interstate highway. I was happy to be back Northeastern Pennsylvania a few hours later. I was to share another adventure with my friends that follow my blog. I hope there will be many more. 

“…every person, when he or she is young, dreams of finding some enchanted place, of beautiful mountains and breathtaking coastline and clear lakes and amazing wildlife, and most people give up on it because they never get to New Zealand.”
US President Bill Clinton, Auckland, 1999.