Tuesday 7 February 2023

Bushy Park Forest Sanctuary, Kai Iwi, Whanganui

Surrounding the historic Bushy Park homestead is the 89 hectare Bushy Park Tarapuruhi Forest which is a Forest & Bird Project.  

The forest is a rare example of North Island temperate lowland forest. Lowland forests such as Bushy Park historically harboured the largest and most diverse communities of native and endemic plants and animals. 

Bushy Park Tarapuruhi is unusual in that it survived (most lowland forest was clear felled) and it is relatively unmodified; there has been no logging or burning of the main forest. It was also fenced to exclude domestic livestock in the mid/early 1900s and is now surrounded by a 4.8km pest & predator fence protecting the forest and birdlife from introduced mammals.

Astelia epiphyte 
David searching for frogs. They were having their very own concert in the Bushy Parks wetland. But so typical of frogs, they stopped as soon as they spotted us.

I think the little jetties are so school & other education groups can check out the pond for bugs & insects.

A male Hihi/Stitchbird on high alert. There's a feed station nearby & several males are trying to use it hence this one zipping about chasing them.

The stitchbird was both rare and poorly known about until the 1990s as few people had an opportunity to visit the single remnant population on Little Barrier Island. With careful management & conservation Hihi can now be seen at several protected sanctuaries.

The female Hihi/Stitchbird is hardly ever seen because the boys take over the feed stations. This one approached but was soon seen off (hence the blurry photo, you have got to be quick to capture them!).

Ratanui the big rata tree of Tarapuruhi/Bushy Park is 36.2mtrs tall. Hard to believe that this rata started out as a small vine that grew up it's host tree and then sent out roots down to the ground, became established & slowly swallowed up its host (often a rimu). And look at all those 'widow makers', large clumps of the epiphyte astelia. Epiphytes growing on a tree that started life as an epiphyte.

A big plump Kereru/Wood pigeon grazes on the homestead's front lawn. Our native pigeons often graze on the ground in large flocks, I once saw a group of around 50 or so birds in a paddock in Golden Bay. And if they're not grazing they are often being goof-balls, chasing each other, rolling over, doing mock attacks & aerobatics just off the ground.

There were so many Tieke/Saddleback in the forest, they were calling to each other, flying about & pulling apart rotting trees on the ground & scratching about in the forest litter but they are very hard to take a photo as it's so dark in the bush & they are so fast in amongst the tangle of undergrowth. So as I was checking out the homestead garden...

... I don't know who got the biggest fright, me or the Tieke when I heard some rustling in the undergrowth & crept up to see what it might be. And look who popped out!

Tieke are endemic (found only in NZ) and classed as 'relic'- a small population stabilised after declining. North Island Saddlebacks (and South Island Saddlebacks) are found only on predator free islands or in protected mainland sanctuaries. Because they are weak fliers & spend a lot of time on and near the ground they are easy prey for predators especially rats & stoats.

Did you know that the South Island Saddleback/Tieke has a different coloured juvenile to the North Island Tieke? South Island juveniles (commonly referred to as ‘jackbirds’) are covered entirely in chocolate brown plumage for their first year whereas North Island juveniles have the adult black plumage with the beginnings of the coloured saddle. 

Tieke/Saddleback Jackbird- Ulva Island, Rakiura/Stewart Island

The homestead's lower carpark is also a POP #4565 (park over property), with a maximum of 3 vehicles a night at $20 for two people ($7 extra person). We visited Bushy Park in the ute but thought it would be great to stay & wake up to a dawn chorus although I think our size rig would be borderline getting up the narrow drive & manoeuvring around in the carpark.  

Friday 27 January 2023

Bushy Park Homestead, Whanganui

Let's see how this goes. As most of you will know or have gathered  I have been struggling to write blogs over the last couple of years. I have so much else happening with various social media accounts & websites to update plus photographs to take & process that my blogs have taken a back seat. I tend to usually write long & detailed blogs with lots of photos & this along with the research I need to do on the area I'm writing about usually ties me up for quite a number of hours over several days. 

I'm now going see if I can do shorter blogs with not so many photos & detail & post more frequently. Many of the blogs will follow a similar format to the photos & information I post on my Facebook page so there might be a bit of  doubling up but I know I have quite a number of followers that don't do Facebook so it'll be new to them. Fingers crossed this works otherwise I might have to put my blog to sleep for awhile. 

Bushy Park Homestead

Bushy Park Homestead

Bushy Park Homestead is an Edwardian-era homestead registered as a Category I heritage building by Heritage New Zealand. It is located in Bushy Park, near Kai Iwi, Whanganui, in the Manawatu-Whanganui region.

Sitting Room
Formal Dinning Room
The 22-room Edwardian homestead, designed by Charles Tilleard Natusch, includes a 109 feet (33 m) long, 6 feet (1.8 m)-wide hall that runs the length of the residence, as well as wood panelling, carved mantels, and Art Deco lights.

Breakfast Room
Built by Russell and Bignell in 1906 at a cost of £4,566 for G. Frank Moore, a cattle and racehorse breeder, the residence and park were given to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand by Moore in 1962. The homestead, bird sanctuary, and rain forest have been managed by Bushy Park Homestead and Forest Trust since 1994.
Bushy Park Homestead is a fully licenced five-bedroom bed and breakfast homestay and function venue.
For a gold coin donation visitors can tour the homestead although if there are guests only one end of the house is open (there were guests when I had a look). You can also have a cold drink or Devonshire tea on the veranda.

Veranda View

Friday 20 January 2023

Self Serve Truck Wash- Christchurch

Inclement weather followed us around the North Island on our recent three month 'summer' visit so by the time we reached Christchurch on our return to the South Island, our rig was well overdue for a good wash down.

It didn't help that we'd stayed at a Christchurch POP for several days & parked beside a row of tall trees with overhanging branches. One of the trees was a silver birch & a couple of others were the nightly hangout for the resident possum who chomped his way through several kilos of leaves and pooped it on us while we snoozed below. 

So added to the bugs, dust, mud & road film from our travels were thousands of birch tree seeds that had worked their way into every nook & cranny & so much possum pee & poo it was hard to imagine one animal could deposit so much mess! 

I had read about a new truck wash in Christchurch so on our way out of town we called into Auto Self Serve Truck & Car Wash in Harewood which is just off SH1 near the airport. Very handy indeed!

As a self-serve operation David wasn't sure how he'd go on the ladder while holding a high-pressure hose to clean the roof, but he needn't have worried. 

We were very lucky to find Geoff, the owner, & his friend Derek- who was helping him out with the new business- waiting to greet us & guide us through the wash bay.

Before we swiped the cash card- it's $69 for the truck wash- Geoff ran us through all the different stages of the wash and pointed out how long each would take out of our 30 minute wash cycle.

And then he said, 'bugger it' we're free at the moment, we'll get you started. First the tyre cleaner goes on...

 ...and then the pre-soak gets added to the vehicle. 

By now Dereck was right into it too, happily working on the rear. 

In the end Geoff's enthusiasm for his new business got the better of him and he decided they'd both carry on & finish the job off for us, giving us a running commentary through the different stages as they went (while David supervised from the side-lines)

David was then invited to do a post clean inspection which he was very happy with, not least because he didn't have to spend any time up the ladder.

You are able to put two vehicles through the 30 minute cycle but then it becomes a bit of a rush or you have to miss a couple of the stages so rather than do that David drove around the circuit and pulled into one of the car bays to clean the ute ($24). We didn't use the Turbovac but they are there ready for you as you pull out of the bay. There's also a Dog Wash available too, a one stop cleaning shop for those that are travelling with their pets.

All spik 'n span we were ready to hit the road again, clean at least for a day but knowing that the roof was now free of any debris and all the underbody has been thoroughly washed (no underbody blast for the 5th-wheeler, just a gentle clean). 

We highly recommend Auto Self Serve & while I can't guarantee you'll get two willing helpers to clean your rig, I'm sure Geoff or any of his very helpful employees will guide you through the process if they have the time. 

Auto Self Serve, 48 Greywacke Road, Harewood, Christchurch- open 24/7


Monday 16 January 2023

Blog Header History

This post follows me along month by month, it contains a record of my blog header photos which I change regularly.

Ray's Rest, Miranda, Firth of Thames
Simpsons Beach, Whitianga, Coromandel
DOC Campground, Port Jackson, Coromandel

Abandoned picnic table, Power Station, Hatepe River, Taupo