Michael and Pam Nees’ kayaking blog

Michael and Pam relaxing at a mai mai.

Michael and Pam relaxing at a mai mai.

Vix loves to stow away.

Vix loves to stow away. Michael and Pam Nees enjoyed kayaking with Driftwood Eco-Tours recently, during their epic road trip around New Zealand, sampling nature tours, activities and accommodation. They own ‘Guest New Zealand’ and are committed to offering visitors to our lovely country the best possible kiwi experiences. It was a pleasure to meet you both and thank you for the lovely blog you wrote about your time with us. CLICK HERE TO READ PAM & MICHAEL’S BLOG

Twitchers converge on New Zealand

No local bird will avoid close inspection when internatonal birders converge for the 75th ‘Birds New Zealand OSNZ Conference’ to be held in Marlborough, New Zealand on Friday 29 May to Monday 1 June 2015. As members of OSNZ we are excited to have this special event held in our region and look forward to welcoming birders world wide.

Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours has been asked to provide mini tours for visiting twitchers and plans are being made to take bird enthusiasts out to the Wairau Lagoon by mini buses to view some of the 92 bird species that have been identified there.

Birds that maybe seen at that time of year are royal spoonbill; banded and black fronted dotterel; pied and the rare black stilt; grey teal, paradise shelduck, scaup and other duck species; five species of cormorant; black swan; kingfisher; caspian, black fronted and white fronted tern; black backed, red billed and black billed gull; cirl bunting; overwintering waders such as bartailed godwit. There us even a chance of catching a glimpse or photo of the glossy ibis, a rare vagrant from Australia.

Other species maybe seen on the day which is a ‘heathrow’ of New Zealand birding. We will be doing some scouting leading up to the Birds New Zealand OSNZ Conference. We would like to try to locate some birds of interest to share with delegates.

We wish all of the visiting delegates an enlightening and enjoyable conference.


Redhills, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand. The Red Hills high in the Wairau Valley is a great walk. Apart from the stunning scenery when you reach the top of the hill, there is a waterfall to discover, scree crossings and the amazing moonscape of the mineral nickle and magnesium mineral belt which gives the red hills its name. Rose and I camped overnight under the stars, drifting off to the hoot of the native morepork (owl). Tips:  Needs reasonable level of fitness.  Check with the Department of Conservation prior to departure.  Excellent hut at the top of the hill.  Check the weather fore-cast, the area is prone to sudden cloud cover.

Sawcut Chasm to isolation hut, Ure Valley, East Coast, Marlborough, New Zealand. A recent trip to the Ure Valley and Sawcut Chasm with our guests reminded me that climbing boulders is not the sport it once was when I was younger, however the crystal clear jade water overflowing over limestone boulders and the kissing faces` of the Sawcut Gorge made it all worthwhile. Tips:  Take your togs if it is a hot day, there a lovely swimming holes.  Check with Department of Conservation, if there has been rain the water levels can rise.  There are lots of river crossings and in New Zealand this means getting your feet wet.  Watch out for Pachystegia (Marlborough Rock Daisy) in December as well as other flora. Good quality hiking boots essential as there are rocks and passes to clamber over).

Essons Valley, Picton, Marlborough, New Zealand. On a hot day Essons Valley takes a lot of beating, a bit of a local secret this walk takes you through mature shady forest to dams supplying Picton township. Good for families. Tips:  Take the right hand turn at the branch, it has a nice pond you can relax by at the summit.  Look out for orchids in the branches above the track in summer.  The leaves of the Kawakawa make a delicious addition to a hot cup of tea. Ask us about our guided walks via private access. The guided walks include a homemade picnic and a commentary about the flora, fauna and history of the area. Wishing you happy and safe hiking over the coming summer.