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C2C’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 20 Nov 2008

Location: Kaniere, New Zealand

MapStarted the day with a short walk along the lakeside. Met ‘a local’; B kept glancing nervously at his legs for sandflies so she initially kept us at a bit of a distance until reassured by J. Her dog had no hesitation in accompanying us and either walked in front of us, stopping and waiting for us each time we stopped or picked up sticks for us to throw.

Hokitika is famous for whitebait which have a short season but it happens to be now. Of course, we had to try them and plumped for the ‘whitebait with salad and fries’. Not only did we discover that we were the ‘gullible tourists’ as it was the most expensive item on the menu, but the few tiny fish (max 2cm long) were whipped into an omelette and their flavour was not distinguishable …… but we would never have known if we hadn’t tried1

Spurred on by a ‘live Kiwis’ sign, visited an eco exhibition in town, Things started unpromisingly with the first exhibit - a 4m diameter, 2m high Perspex tank of – yes, whitebait! Blurb said what a difficult life they have and that after a year of growth only a few reach the adult length of 2cm. Problem is, apparently, they’re considered a delicacy and served in omelettes.

Moved swiftly on to the stars of the show – 3 kiwis. Watched them snuffling round in the gloom (they’re nocturnal) and have no evidence as there was a strict ban on photos. Later they made an appalling squealing racket. Not surprising as the Kiwi egg is the biggest of any bird in proportion to its body weight – over one third. Must have been in anticipation.