"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rainbow Springs



Before we move on to my visit at Rainbow Springs, I thought I'd post this short (1 min.) classic Looney Tunes clip with Wile E Coyote and the sheepdog. You'll see why I made reference to him in yesterday's post! Also, I neglected to tell you that a sheep was sheared on stage and the shearer threw balls of the fleece out to us audience members to rub between our hands. I did as instructed and my hands were noticeably oily - as if I'd just rubbed an expensive cream into them. With a light pleasant smell. Needless to say I bought some of the lanolin cream they were selling there - produced in NZ - I really like it :)

Also, Dianne from Collies and Life left me a very interesting comment worth checking out in response to Tuesday's post where I'd mentioned that I was disappointed to learn women weren't allowed near the Maori carvings. She explained the fascinating reason behind this.

The last stop in my Rotorua city tour was at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park. 

Situated on an enormous reserve of spring water, it features gorgeous scenery, hosts numerous varieties of local birds (including the elusive and endangered kiwi), small reptiles, and a trout farm. 

Our guide was fascinating & very knowledgable. He shared many intriguing tidbits regarding the local flora and fauna.

Including the fact that the underside of the fronds from these trees are phosphorescent and were placed along the trails by the natives (they would have also been carrying lit torches) to aid them in their travels at night. 

A representation of the largest of the Moa species that were found in New Zealand. This giant bird has been extinct for approximately 400 years. There were eleven species of various sizes, with the largest reaching about 12 feet in height and about 650 lbs in weight. It's Jurassic Park!

Here's the lizard I promised to show you. I was quite enthralled by him :) The Tuatara (Maori for "peaks on the back") is an ancient reptile found exclusively in New Zealand. It's been around since the time of the dinosaur - approximately 200 million years ago. This adorable creature boasts a number of unique characteristics:

1. Two rows of teeth in the upper jaw that overlap one row on the lower jaw.
2. Born with a pronounced photoreceptive "third eye" on the forehead, which disappears (scales grow over) after the first few months of life. Ongoing research suggests that this eye is thought to be involved in setting circadian and seasonal cycles.
3. Able to hear, although they have no external ear.
4. Other unique features in their skeleton - apparently evolutionarily retained from fish.

They have been protected by law since 1895 and are threatened by habitat loss and predators that were introduced from other countries, such as the rat.

This huge (close to chest-high) rock was stunning and is valued at 1 million dollars! 


Seems there's a legend behind everything - click on pic to expand. 




And now for New Zealand's national symbol (besides the Silver Fern) - I wish I could tell you this is a live Kiwi, but in reality it's a stuffed one! I did see a couple of real kiwis (one recently hatched at the park), but photography of the bird is strictly prohibited - a flash could damage their delicate eyes (they're nocturnal creatures). 

20 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous park, Jane. You certainly managed to squeeze a lot in on your trip, which I'm glad about because your posts are probably the closest I'll ever get to NZ! I love, love that lizard - he is adorable.I like reptiles of the smaller lizard variety.Never knew that about Kiwi's eyes!

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    1. Isn't he sweet :) I'd have loved to kiss him over his third eye! I never dreamed I'd get to NZ - so never say never - life has a way of surprising us every so often.

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  2. The Kiwi is a very strange looking creature, and it is encouraging to hear the lengths they go to in order to keep those remaining safe. The rock is quite lovely, but a little ostentatious for a ring, I'm thinking!

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    1. It sure is odd looking - like so many of the creatures in that part of the world.

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  3. That rock is very cool...but, what makes it so expensive? I love the way legends weave history and teach with the Native People.

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    1. I'm not sure why it's worth so much - I expect they told us, but as usual I can't remember. You're so right about legends weaving history.

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  4. Oh, I love wildlife parks! How did you ever tear yourself away from there? I could spend all day walking around these places, learning about different things and snapping a million photos. That rock is astounding. 1 million dollars worth? Imagine that! I love the Tuatara; so cute. How amazing that it's been around since the dinosaur era. It's no wonder it's being protected by law. And how sweet that you're not allowed to snap photos of kiwis so as not to injure their eyes with a flash. That is really cool.

    What a great post. And like Sulky Kitten, your posts are probably the closest I'll ever get to NZ, too. So bring them on.

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    1. I would have happily stayed a lot longer - but the bus was leaving, lol!! I could just see the two us together, snapping away: "Huh, did our tour guide say we're leaving?" "Don't ask me!" Like I told Sulky - life has a way of sneaking up on us - never know what it holds - I certainly never dreamt this time last year that I'd be going anywhere's near NZ.

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  5. So much to see and learn. You are doing a great job taking us on your trip too.

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    1. Thanks - I'm glad you're enjoying the tour - hope no one's getting sick of hearing about NZ yet because I've still got lots of pics left, lol!!

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  6. Love the lizard and kiwi -- both are so cute!

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    1. I am madly in love with that lizard :)

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  7. Beatiful falls! And I love all the information you give! Imagine what it must have been like when those Moas were still alive!!!

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    1. Aren't they impressive!! Very prehistoric - I can't imagine a 600 lb. bird - the ground would shake.

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  8. Gorgeous post ..how I would love to touch that beautiful tree..and the falls are magnificent! Wonderful rock..magnificent....looks like a very small one I received as a gift last year..how cool! Beautiful flora and fauna..you have captivated my soul with all this beauty!
    Victoria

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    1. Thanks Victoria - I'm glad you love that tree - I sense we are both equally drawn to the beauty and soothing properties of nature.

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  9. The kiwi is pretty cool looking. I loved the waterfalls. That would be someplace I could go and just sit and watch the water as I enjoy a much needed break from the world at large.

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    1. I hear you - if I lived there, this would be one place I'd definitely visit on a regular basis. It's like Jurassic Park in there.

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  10. How odd of a bird! Very interesting they are so light sensitive. Certainly these countries are a world away with all the strange and wonderful things they hold.

    I would like a chunk of the blue/green rock for my garden.....maybe next trip eh?......lol

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  11. Wow, it's so beautiful and fascinating over there. I enjoyed reading about the tuatara . . . I'd love to learn more about him. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. :)

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