High on the escarpment in the Sunshine Coast hinterland are the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. The gardens cover about four hectares, with pathways meandering beside ponds, waterfalls, trees, flowers, gazebos and lawns. The owner, Frank Shipp, began with a bank canvas in 2005, and has created an environment of great ambience, with the Glasshouse Mountains as a backdrop.
Shamarra Alpaca Farm is located on the western shores of Akaroa Harbour near Wainui, about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. It is a picturesque 35 hectare breeding farm with a herd of over 100 alpacas. Owners Frank and Anya host farm tours which include the opportunity to wander in the paddocks and interact with the animals.
A wide variety of wildlife co-exists at Halswell Quarry Park, a 60 hectare passive recreation area in the city of Christchurch. It has been encouraged by the native and other plantings within the park, and by the wetlands, which cover the low lying area. Some of this wildlife only resides in the park temporarily (e.g. the geese and paradise ducks), and some may be seen as pests, but they create a diversity for the many visitors who walk the tracks within the park. These photos were taken over a two year period during the many hours I spend walking there. (Click once on any photo to enlarge.)
Monarchs have fascinating over-wintering behaviours. They form clusters and hang in trees, sometimes thousands of them, clinging onto remaining leaves for support. They can be seen high in the trees in parks and gardens around Christchurch during winter.
Orana Wildlife Park is on the outskirts of Christchurch city. It is New Zealand’s only open range sanctuary. Its core mission is conservation of endangered animals from New Zealand and other parts of the world. Over 400 animals are in a park-like setting, in enclosures as close to their natural habitat as possible. Streams, moats and banks are used as barriers, to give visitors a mostly unobstructed view. Feeding times are organised sequentially, so that in a day, visitors can have an encounter with all the groups of animals.
These are just some of the animals and birds that I saw, on a visit in September 2012. Continue reading
The Blue Laguna awaits its passengers for an ecocruise down the Maroochy River, at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, South East Queensland.
There’s a wonderful opportunity to see Giant Pandas up close at Seven Star Park, in Guilin, Guangxi Province, Southern China. We saw them at feeding time in their large enclosure, but were able to stand on viewing platforms very close to them.
Native to central western and south western China, Giant Pandas are an endangered species. The exact number of Giant Pandas living in the wild is not known, but could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000. A 2007 report shows 239 pandas in captivity inside China, and another 27 outside the country.
It was fascinating watching them asleep, moving about and feeding on bamboo when we saw them in Seven Star Park in April 2012.