'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Deepest Darkest New Zealand

 Exactly a year ago I was a place in New Zealand I have never been, despite this being a relatively smallish three(-ish) islands, and me living here for 60 (-ish) years. 

I will call it Deepest Darkest New Zealand, even 'tho' wet and wild Fiordland at the Southwestern part of NZ is probably a little deeper and darker. (Here was re-discovered the amazing Takahe, the very rare, thought-to-be-extinct, stumpy-legged, flightless, fat, evolved version of the common blue swamphen which is seen throughout Asia.)

Anyway, Arthur's Pass is one of the four main passes through the backbone of mountains that run up the South Island.  There's not much at Arthur's except a cafe or two and a cluster of small houses, a conservation information centre, and a petrol station. Roy and I were lucky enough to be offered the use of a house belonging to my sister-in-law, and that's where we were, exactly a year ago, fossicking in the dripping beech forest and, a little further up the road, in the pristine alpine gardens, while almost all the populated part of New Zealand sweltered in summer droughts and, sadly, haze from the Australian bushfires... 

Imagine moss everywhere, slugs, spiders, harvestmen, centipedes, beetles, moths, lichens, fungi ...  A cornucopia of things of great interest to my travelling companion Swedish photographer friend Roy, and I.

We had only about a week to go before he had to fly out (just beating Covid border closures) back to Sweden, the two of us having had from mid November - 3 months straight - travelling and bug-hunting. all over New Zealand from top to almost the bottom. Marvellous! Pull up a chair to this blog, as over the next while I'll retrace our steps...


  1. I shall look fiordward to it. I enjoyed Fiordlaand - especially going down the Milford Sound. Okay that touristy but one can see why and it's all relative - it was very quiet when I was there. I got rather confused though because I couldn't see a link between Fiordland and Arthur's Pass over which I've been several times when going between the Hokitika area and Christchurch. Presumably I will catch up when I get my brain in gear at the next post.

    1. Fiordland was a diversion - a competitor for deepest darkest. It is lovely. But we didn't quite get there. It's still on my bucket list.


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