Grampians to Melbourne: Kangaroos, Skinks, Waterfalls and More

Bobtail Skink seen in the Grampians, Victoria, Australia

Waterfalls and wildlife, our days in the Grampians region were filled with natural beauty. Inland from Victoria’s southern Australian coast, Grampian National Park is a perfect base for exploration. Best shared in photos: Practical Information: The Grampians National Park is located in Victoria and is comprised of rugged sandstone mountain ranges and forests. We barely […]

Cruising on the Swan River to Artistic Fremantle, Australia

Black swans are the namesake of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia

Black swans dot the banks and give the Swan River her name according to the commentary on board the hour-long Captain Cook cruise from Perth to Fremantle in Western Australia (WA). It was a late spring day with a light breeze. The river sailing was smooth and the commentary identified key sights like the Royal […]

Photos of Kings Park and Botanic Gardens in Perth Australia

Boab Tree in Kings Park and Botanic Gardens in Perth Australia

Western Australia (WA) is quite different from the cities in the east we travelled to on our loop over the top of Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Caines, and Darwin). WA is home to half of Australia’s plant species, and most are endemic to the region. Located in Kings Park, the Western Australia Botanic Gardens is a […]

Cartagena Port in Colombia: Toucans, Iguanas, Monkeys and More

Toucan at the Port of Cartagena Columbia

Toucans, iguana, monkeys and other animals greeted us at the Cartagena port as we walked off the Island Princess cruise ship in Colombia. Not “wild” animals per say, although many appeared to be free. Along with the more typical duty free shopping and a cafe, these animals appear to be part of a nature park provided by […]

Birds and Alligators of Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Florida

Anhinga and chicks at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach Florida

Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach Florida is home to interesting bird life, alligators, and colorful flora. As we walked along the boardwalk we saw it all. According to my mother-in-law, a frequent visitor, the day we visited exhibited the most abundant collection of nesting birds she had seen to date. According to the signage, “The […]

Penguin – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Little Blue Penguin (ferry penguin) in New Zealand

P is for penguin . . .  or precious.   Practical Information:  Native to New Zealand these little blue penguins are fairly common on New Zealand coasts and also found in southern Australia. They are the world’s smallest penguin, standing just over 25cm (10 inches) and weighing only about a kilogram (2.2 pounds). They are […]

Kaka – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Kaka, a native forest parrot of New Zealand

K is for kaka. Practical Information:  The kākā is a large forest parrot found on the North Island, South Island and Stewart Island.  With between 1,000 and 5,000 remaining, they are considered nationally vulnerable. Generally considered diurnal, they are also active in a full moon or on fine weather evenings. Often heard before they are seen, they make a […]

Endangered Takahe – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Critically Endangered Takahe on Tiritiri Matangi

E is for endangered. Practical Information:  Now classified as critically endangered, the takahe were once thought of as extinct until they were rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains (Fiordland) on the South Island in 1948. Takahe are flightless birds found only in New Zealand. They display their wings during courtship or as a show of aggression. Takahe are […]

White Silica Sand of Rarawa Beach in Northland, New Zealand

White silica sand at Rarawa Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula New Zealand

Rarawa Beach takes your breath away. I know it’s cliche, but what else can I say about pure white sand, gentle waves, and a quiet that seems out of place, disrupted only by the gentle waves and the occasional squawk of a nesting bird. We stopped at Rarawa Beach as a side trip on the way to the northern tip […]

Interesting Animals of the Auckland Zoo

Baby elephant at the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand (Auckland Zoo Photos)

I have mixed feelings about zoos, yet the Auckland Zoo always makes me smile. It is more than a venue to view the animals. It is a centre for conservation activities both domestically and around the world with extensive breeding and rescue programs. We have visited many times in our 12 years living in New Zealand. On a recent visit my Auckland Zoo photos focused […]

Yellow Eyed Penguins in New Zealand: World’s Rarest Penguin

The yellow eyed penguin is considered the world's rarest penguin. Photo in New Zealand

We stood quietly in the trench, a hiding hut for humans. Here we waited, and then watched as yellow eyed penguins headed to their nesting boxes. It’s important that these endangered birds remain undisturbed. Watching quietly from our hut, we were so well hidden the penguins didn’t know we were there. Their nesting boxes seemed […]

Zealandia, New Zealand Wildlife the Way Nature Intended

Tuatara in the bush in New Zealand

Tucked up over the city of Wellington is Zealandia, an eco reserve reminiscent of the days before humans arrived in New Zealand. A predator proof fence surrounds the sanctuary, creating an “island” within New Zealand’s capital city and allowing birds and other native creatures to live wild as nature intended. In contrast to the Wellington […]

Wellington Zoo, Home to the Only Bear in New Zealand

Sun Bear at the Wellington Zoo, New Zealand

Wellington Zoo calls itself the “Best Little Zoo in the World,” and they just might be accurate. Having lived most of my life near large cities with somewhat famous zoos, I thought I had seen it all.  Not so. The Wellington Zoo offers many surprises, and is worth a visit.  It’s one of the highlights […]

Pied Shag – Bird Watching in New Zealand

Pied shag in Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

New Zealand is currently home to over 170 different types of birds so it’s not surprising that we see interesting birds like the pied shag when we go hiking.  This one was spotted in Shakespear Park, north of Auckland. While I took this shot on the east coast of the North Island, I have previously […]

Photo Highlights of 2014: Birds in New Zealand

Tui on Tiritiri Matangi Island, New Zealand

With over 170 different types of birds in New Zealand, it’s hard to go a day without seeing a beautiful example of our feathered friends.  As 2014 comes to an end, I want to share some of the year’s highlights in photos.  It’s a three part series, with bird photos as number one, followed by […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #20 – More Mahurangi West

Crab along the Cudlip coast at Mahurangi West

Today I’m sharing the second part of my adventure for my Bronze level Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award hike, which was at Mahurangi West regional park in Auckland. If you haven’t seen the first part yet, you can read it at Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #19 – Mahurangi West Tramp. We returned to our base camp after the Mita Loop […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #19 – Mahurangi West Tramp

Mita Bay Loop Track at Mahurangi West in New Zealand

Last weekend, as a follow-up to the Tawharanui park tramp I did a few weeks ago, I had my qualifying Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award tramp. This one was at Mahurangi West regional park, and though it rained for a bit, we had an excellent time and I seriously enjoyed myself. Among other things, we need to write […]

Photos: Critically Endangered Takahe and Chick in New Zealand

Critically endagered Takahe and chick on Tiritiri Matangi Island, New Zealand

One of the really great things about New Zealand is the birds.  Being an isolated island with no indigenous mammals (except bats), birds flourished, including flightless birds like kiwi and takahe.  Then came the humans, and with them predators – some as stowaways (rats and stouts), others as farm animals or pets.  While many birds […]

Sinking Boat, Colorful Bird – Photos of a Coast Guard Rescue

New Zealand Coast Guard towing a catamaran - this isn't quite as bad as it looks

Looking out the window the promise of an uneventful Sunday was shattered as I saw the Coast Guard rescue boat towing a sinking boat in our bay. The catamaran had three sailors on board. I assume at least one is from the Coast Guard as that’s how it was when they rescued us a few […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #12 – Birds

Seagull stealing a bit of bread in the Marina

Today I was looking through my photos, and I found several photos of common birds that I have taken over the last half year. All of them are from various parts of Auckland city in New Zealand, and I decided to share them today. We see seagulls and sparrows every day, among other bird types. […]

Hike to Monro Beach-Spotting a Fiordland Crested Penguin

Tawaki - Fiordland Crested Penguin

The hike to Monro beach, through New Zealand’s subtropical rainforest region is spectacular on its own. With the added bonus of seeing a Fiordland Crested Penguin, this is now one of our most special days in New Zealand. The Fiordland Crested Penguin is one of the rarest penguins in the world, and one of the few […]

Eating Cakes and Viewing Penguins in St Kilda a Melbourne Suburb

Little Blue penguin at St. Kilda pier, Melbourne, Australia

St Kilda is a Melbourne suburb famous for the row of bakeries and cake shops on Acland Steet, Luna Park (an amusement park), and the little blue penguins that nest on the rocks under the main pier. We love penguins and seeing them was our motivation for the visit late one afternoon. We opted to take an easy tram […]

Rare and Endangered Bird Photos: Tiritiri Matangi Island, NZ

Critically endangered Takahe on Tiritiri Matangi Island

Yesterday I tried my hand at bird photos on Tiritiri Matangi Island, where I saw several critically endangered and fascinating birds. The island is a stunning open bird sanctuary and scientific reserve. It is predator free and maintained by the Department of Conservation along with an amazing team of volunteers.  Calling it a Silver Celebration, […]

Birds on Muriwai Beach, NZ – Gannets, Shags, Oystercatchers

birds on muriwai beach

Seeing the Birds on Muriwai Beach is an annual event for our family. Australian gannets breed here every year in our New Zealand summer. Last year we viewed the gannets from the cliffs above. This year I shot them from the ground looking up. Since it’s already Wednesday in New Zealand, I present these birds […]