A Short Day in Nelson

May 23, 2013
It was another pretty laid back day for us here in Nelson. We got up early and went to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. We learned about the invasive species in New Zealand and how these species have single handedly taken out certain populations of species that were not prepared to defend themselves from the predators. Did you know that NZ has a large possum problem? They trap and kill possums, skin them, and sell their fur mixed with merino sheep’s wool and make luxurious fabrics with it. Some of the profit from these possum-made items goes back to the people that trap/kill/skin the possums so they can buy more traps for them. While it’s a little graphic, it’s pretty handy of them to do this. We were told multiple times that while in NZ we should buy wool/possum items while we are here. I got some socks! They were the cheapest item I could find (everything else was $50NZD+) and the things I would be most likely to use. I love wearing fuzzy socks to bed year-round.

The sanctuary is working on raising $4.5 billion dollars to put a pest-proof fence around their designated area. They want to restore populations of species that have been endangered by these predators such as kiwi birds! The problem is that this fence is very expensive because of the materials it uses is very expensive (a lot of the fence is stainless steel). They explained this process, their goals, and how they are moving forward working on the sanctuary right now. We helped remove an invasive plant species today… basically, we weeded. I bet my mom would LOVE to hear that considering I never help her. (Don’t get any ideas, Mom!)

After the sanctuary, we explored Nelson’s shopping district and I found some good souvenirs! We went on the hunt for burgers for dinner since we all had pizza last night. The first place we found was too expensive so we kept walking. We found this place called the Royal Hotel, which was a hotel on the second floor and a bar/pub on bottom. Only a few people were in there, but we decided to stay. The burgers were cheap and delicious! The bartender/owner was extremely hospitable! He told us to go pick music on their computer because they were using Spotify. They were fast considering the amount of people we brought all at once to their tiny kitchen. Hillary and I had to wait for our burgers a little longer than other people, so they brought us out hot fries (or “chips”) to compensate for our wait. Too bad I don’t like fries, but everyone else enjoyed them! It was a relaxed environment and we even met a girl that had lived in Florida for six years (2 years in Gainesville, 4 years in Orlando while studying hospitality management). It’s such a small world. I also saw a woman that I had traveled from the LAX airport to Auckland with in the gift shop earlier. It’s an entire week later and we’ve been to three different cities since then. Isn’t that insane?!

Tomorrow we are starting a series of short visits various places. These towns will be small and the stops will be short because we are on en route to Queenstown. They told us our wifi might be very sketchy between now and Queenstown, so I’ll be blogging offline if that is the case. Having unlimited, fast wifi has been such a relief!

I think I am catching the cold that pretty much everyone else on our trip has had or currently has, so I will be going to bed a lot earlier tonight to try to combat that. There is no time for rest when our days are so busy. I got some work done on my module so I’m feeling accomplished.

Cheers, mates!