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  • Sure, except that an organized eco tour costs a fortune and not everyone can afford that or wants to do a tour with a lot of people or pay for the expense of doing a private one.

    And, you have to understand where I come from. In Pennsylvania, the Audubon society, DOE (environment/conservation), and and the Nature Conservancy all have accessible catalogues of which birds are where, when. These things are published widely, so that people can go and watch the birds -- which, it turns out, is a hugely popular tourist attraction. And, you can do all of this *without* an eco tour and *with* affordable, local guides that you can contact to take you out to the "best sites" or you can just go it alone.

    That's a stark cry from just being incredulously told "in the bush." In my opinion, it's a rude answer. We know that birds live in the bush, that they fly around and migrate, and that there are certain times of days for things. All bird watchers know this! What we don't know are the particulars of the birds of NZ and how to see them.

    If you said to me that you wanted to see the red tail hawk in nest, I would tell you that you would have a great go of it in two locations in pennsylvania that I knew of (among many others). The first is Valley Forge park -- which is about 45 minutes out of philadelphia, and there are hotels and b/bs in the much closer (actually adjacent) King of Prussia (town). Hawks tend to be most active in the mornings/evenings (when the voles are most active), and so it would be better to stay in KoP and head out to the park before sunrise. The open plains areas of the park will be better for siting, as that's their major hunting ground -- and you'll be likely to see activity on the thermals (mating habits) after their breakfast (until about 10 am).

    All of this is *recorded* and accessible information. If you contacted any of the tourism groups in PA, they'd tell you this information. Which geographic area, which towns are nearby, what to do to get the best sight of the birds. It's helpful -- and it builds confidence that you are *more likely* to see the birds than not.

    It took me a long time to figure out, for example, that pukeko loved geothermal areas. Everywhere I read kept talking about swamp areas. I sought out swamps, and we really didn't see any pukeko. We did see several other interesting birds, but not what we were looking for. It was fairly disappointing, to be honest. Then, we happened to be going through a geothermal area, and i see this odd little bird and think "wait, I think that's a pukeko!" and we pull over and go into the area (gently, of course), and found several pukeko that we got to observe for a fair while. It was really lovely.

    If someone had said "you're more likely to find pukeko near geothermal areas, so look for them in and around and en route to rotorua" -- that would have been *helpful* information.

    As opposed to "in the bush."

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    • wow - Zoebird that saddens me that you have had so many negetive experiences with our tourism. We have had hundreds of foreign guests, and we have travelled this country extensively ourselves - and never have we or our friends had negetive experiences.
      I hope your next trip will be more positive.
      ............ But Doc - just come and stay down our way and we will point you in the right direction..............have you bought your tickets yet ????????............ I hope you are not planning to come by boat - it might take a weeeee while !!!!!

      as an aside - Pukekos are found through out the country, I do not believe that they are more common in geothermal areas.
      oh yea and I grew up in Matamata - and know lots of the support actors and actresses on the first Lord of the Rings movie...................... I'm famous - by default !!!!!!
      "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

      ...small steps....

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      • omg, i could put my head on the table. part of the problem is that kiwis cannot handle any criticism. jfc!

        hawks are found in the bush areas throughout pennsylvania. But if you were to ask a local tourism organization (governmental/etc), then they will give you specific locations/ideas because it's about *tourism* not about *you*. It's about what makes it easier for the *tourist* not *you*.

        I can only say that many of my american friends who have come here on tour have found it *incredibly* frustrating to get firm information from anyone. "Where should I camp?" Well, you can camp anywhere. Everywhere is good. Nice. How about some suggestions like 'If you want mountains, try here. If you can't do that one, try this one instead. And if that's too far from where you'll be, check out this place."

        Do you see?

        The issue isn't that there aren't a lot of things to do and see in NZ. There are *lots and lots* -- but most are hidden gems, things that you don't know about unless you know the locals (or know to ask). If you are a normal tourist, heading to the iSite or going on your own with guide books, there is NOT a lot of information available without a lot of effort on your part to plan it all out in detail.

        The trips that I have had here (since the first one) have been *great* because I've trawled nz home/garden magazines, books, web sites, and talked with friends who live in different towns across the country. I live here, and I've been able to explore (along with other ex-pat friends) and actually discover that this space, which might be well described in the books, is actually crap, whereas this off-the-beaten-path place is truly excellent. And, most people dont' know how to get there, or where to stay. This country *is* rural -- and if you don't have housing sorted or where your launch points will be, or your petrol/food needs sorted ahead of time, you could find yourself in a bit of a pinch. And I have, because the iSite folks *and* the campervan folks took a "she'll be right" approach rather than giving clear, direct information when directly asked.

        It may be cultural in nature, but since NZ is looking to attract more American tourists, if you want to keep them, you're going to have to start catering to them. They're spending a lot of money to come here, but they may not have a lot of money for the top-end tours. Having information readily available will help encourage tourism.

        People are friendly here -- that's not a problem. Crime is low -- also not a problem. English speaking, developed, safe. All good. But, you don't necessarily get to see and do what you want to see and do, and that's a problem of marketing/organization.

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        • And I will also say this. Kiwis are very nice, friendly people. But they also keep to themselves largely. When I was here on my first trip, I would get to a town (usually by bus), and try to ask the locals what the best thing to see or do in the area was. The answers were polite but not informative. I had one person tell me to "definitely go to Kerosene creek" but was unable to tell me where it was other than "on the north island." Web searches did help me find it on a map, but i couldn't figure out where to stay near-by enough to enjoy the creek.

          Now, I realize I could rent a rural (very rural) holiday home there and then spend a few days and enjoy the creek (it's a hot water creek, so that's pretty darn cool), as well as a lot of other cool rural things out there. But, none of that information is widely available on web sites that general tourists would look for or find. Those sites are largely directed by kiwis, and since they use internet banking, it's hard for non-kiwis to use to make payments and get things sorted before arrival.

          I dont think that anyone *means* to be difficult, it's just that from an outsiders POV, it's really tough to do what you want to do and see what you want to see. And that's disappointing if you've spent all of your money and vacation time to come here, and you just get "it's in the bush."

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          • did they choose not to pick up secret circle, btw?

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            • what is this secret circle ??? that you speak ??????
              "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

              ...small steps....

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              • Mwahahahah, Gwamma, it's a secret. LOL

                It's a tv show about witches. Generations of them and the special ones that comprise the circle. Zoebird, yes, it's been cancelled.
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                B*tch-lite

                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                • Hiya J - never heard of it ???????
                  Is all good with you ????
                  "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

                  ...small steps....

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                  • Yes, Gwamma, how 'bout you? Sounds like you're keeping busy and having fun.

                    I heard from an old friend today. My little manorexic friend. It was fun.

                    Also, I had something I'd never cooked myself before: roasted marrow bones. Totally easy. Salt, pepper, roast. LOL. But delicious. I splurged and made a few crostini with a little garlic to smear the marrow on. One of the most decadent things I've ever eaten. Such a small amount of food, but I'm stuffed to the gills.

                    They looked like this, but I forgot to take a pic of mine:

                    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                    B*tch-lite

                    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                    • yumm J! were they beef bones? my mum used to eat the marrow out of cold cooked bones on toast or bread and butter. i've never really found it that exciting but maybe i should make more of an effort?

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                      • They were bison! I felt so blessed. I think cold might be odd maybe? Too greasy? But hot is like bovine elixir. I've had beef also and it's just as good as the bison, except the bison is a little thicker in consistency.

                        And as always, since this cavegirl doesn't waste a thing, the bones will go into broth, and in their third incarnation, I'll give them to the neighbor dog. I might bleach one of them to add to my collection.
                        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                        B*tch-lite

                        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

                        Comment


                        • yum J - that looks awesome.
                          We actually have a Mummy, Daddy and baby bison in a paddock on the way into Rangiora. They are the most amazing animals.
                          "look at the buffalo " I said to DH - the first time we saw them
                          "they are Bison" he said
                          "okay mr no-it-all, how do you know that"
                          "Just cos" was his reply................
                          I want to get me some buffalo.......I could call it buffy the lo !!!!!!
                          "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

                          ...small steps....

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                          • Buffy the lo. You're funny!

                            If I understand correctly there are a couple of types of bison that aren't buffalo. But the North American Bison is the same animal as the North American Buffalo. Bison/buffalo - it all delicious.
                            "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                            B*tch-lite

                            Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                            • yeah, i think it was TVNZ family of channels that had secret circle. it ws. . . fun and silly. kind of like how. . . uhm, Charmed was. But with better lighting. Also, the boy who played John COnnor in the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is a terminator TV show, and I LOVE TERMINATOR things, so i loved it. Also, ditched after year 1, btw.

                              i want to see the second season of the one with aliens and uhm, Noah Wylie, but I haven't seen it around. annoyance!

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                              • Originally posted by zoebird View Post

                                i want to see the second season of the one with aliens and uhm, Noah Wylie, but I haven't seen it around. annoyance!
                                Yes I remember the one, I enjoyed that. I like those apocalyptic ones like The Walking Dead, and there was that other one a while back.....Jericho, but I think that got canned after one season too. Yet somehow we get fifty million season's of Survivor........who actually watches that shit?

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