Here at Flying Kiwi we are always asking ourselves...how can we make a difference? To our travellers experience and to the world we live in. We're passionate about New Zealand and we want to ensure that it stays as beautiful and un-touched by humans and pests as possible. With that in mind the obvious choice to concentrate our efforts fell on our backdoor step, the top of the South Island and home to Flying Kiwi - the Abel Tasman National Park.
The Abel Tasman National Park is 22,530 hectares, and is New Zealand’s smallest National Park. World famous for its golden beaches, granite cliffs, estuaries and native forests. Sadly though, its native flora and fauna have suffered over the years, ravaged by fire, farming, logging, invasive weeds and predators. Without help, wildlife and habitat will continue to be lost.
Flying Kiwi is an Associate Member of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust and will match all travellers optional $10 donation towards this worthy cause. We also make it possible for travellers to volunteer their time and get involved with environmental projects such as site preparation and the clearing of weeds as well as planting knew trees, thereby having a positive impact on our environment.
The aim of the Abel Tasman Birdsong is to protect and enhance biodiversity and improve the visitor experience in Abel Tasman National Park. It is a Charitable Trust, formed in 2007 and its vision is that the forests and beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park are once again filled with the birdsong that awakens and delights visitors.
For more information on the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust click here.
The November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake caused significant damage to the area, closing the main highway and only route between Picton to Christchurch.
Kaikoura has always been a special place that Flying Kiwi has visited for many years and we're super excited about being able to go back when the road re-opens. Currently they are hopeful the road will re-open on December 15th 2017, with any luck our tours will be back to Kaikoura in time for Christmas!
You can see by the images below that this is a massive project that involves moving an incredible amount of debris and rubble, re-building entire sections of the road, changing the previous route by building new bridges and overpasses while securing the cliff line so the road is safe and will outlast any future quakes all the while maintaining New Zealand's commitment to the unique marine life along this beautiful stretch of coastline!
This huge slip has covered the road and bent the train tracks. The landslides brought down trees, earth and huge boulders making clearing the road incredibly difficult!
The slips here blocked both ends of a tunnel that went through this bluff along the coastline. Some new sections of road will be built including bridges and overpasses as sections like this have become unusable.
Another big landslide covers the road and blocks the train line. The height of the slip is quite dramatic in this photo!
The quake ripped up this section of the road! Luckily the quakes happened at night so very little traffic was travelling along the road. During the day State Highway 1 is an important transport link for many companies and locals as well as attracting many tourist travelling between Picton and the tourist town of Kaikoura
This photo shows work crews clearing the major slip at Ohau Point. This part of the coastline was home to an important seal colony that was unfortunately destroyed during the quake. Wildlife was a big concern after the quake but it's thought the seals have found new areas to colonize. This section of road was one of the last to be cleared and crews worked from both ends to meet in the middle.
These work crews are clearing out and leveling the road in dangerous conditions. Spotters are used to give some warning if there is any movement about the crews on the ground. The scale of the landslides is shown clearly in this photo as the big machinery looks tiny compared to the amount of earth they are clearing.
3 Kiwis, 1 Rickshaw and 3500km through India
Our office super star Franki (who actually thinks the grass is greener on the other side and therefore decided to join our on road crew next summer) has been putting her sanity on the line by travelling 3,5000 km from the far South to the Far North of India on a 7 hp rickshaw to raise funds for the Cool Earth Charity and Child Cancer Foundation as part of the infamous Rickshaw Run.
Thankfully she was not doing it alone, but had two of her best friends, Rachel & Warrick (aka Wazza) on her side, sharing a variety of duties such as travel blogging (to keep us all in the loop and entertained), ensuring sufficient (spicy) food supplies and plenty of mechanical repair work (yep, you guessed it, emancipation has not made it that far yet – this was mainly Wazza’s job).
Flying Kiwi are very proud to have been given the opportunity to sponsor “one of our own” and help the team raise more than $3,500.00 for the Child Cancer Foundation to date.