WE SAW A WILD KIWI!!!
Well, by 'we' I actually mean Nathan because I spent FIVE HOURS across 2 nights creeping around the woods in the pitch black with my little red torch - 3 hours of which were with The Kid - and I saw not a single one.
But hey, at least one of us spotted one! Nathan says it was only about 2 metres from him on the path, didn't seem bothered by his presence, and just carried on doing it's Kiwi thing for a few minutes before wandering off out of sight. He came back to the caravan pretty buzzed from such a cool encounter (& I was super jealous!)
So how did he manage this very rare experience? Well we spent a couple of nights camping at the Trounson Kauri Park. A 'mainland island' that's had intensive trapping to remove pests and predators, while also trying to restore the area to it's native Kauri forest ecosystem, allowing native species like the North Island Brown Kiwi a better chance to thrive. And thrive they have - this Department of Conservation reserve is apparently one of the most Kiwi dense areas in the North Island. Hence why we were wandering around in the dark half the night looking for them!
And even though Ryan and I were unsuccessful in spotting one, we certainly heard them - their calls could be heard periodically throughout the night (google it if you're not sure what they sound like) and you could hear them rustling through the undergrowth. We were often sure they were right in front us, but just out of sight. And I can assure you I've never seen so many Kiwi shaped logs/rocks/bushes in my life
But I'm determined to spot one at some point, and there's a couple of other similar nature reserves we can try, so hopefully we can come back and report more Kiwi sightings in the future
Unfortunately we don't have any photos of Nathan's Kiwi, as spotting one is hard enough, let alone getting a photo. But the Kauri Park is beautiful in it's own right, and we spent a lovely peaceful few days there.