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Tramping in New Zealand (Newsletter Extract)

I discovered that Oxford Forest allows dogs, plus the tracks take you through native forest (you can see photos on my other blog) with the sound of bellbirds all around.It had been years since I had done an overnight walk and camp and I consulted my essential tramping list to make sure I didn’t forget anything:
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Being in NZ With a Dog

When my partner, Duncan, and our Jack Russell, Billie, headed off on our extended cultural sabbatical 9 years ago, Billie was 5 years old and packed full of energy. He travelled everywhere with us and, at the age of 9, he walked nearly 200 miles on the UK’s Coast to Coast. When we left Spain last year, we said we were moving back to NZ to settle down and for Billie to enjoy his retirement. I think if Billie had had any say in the matter he would have chosen to retire in the Basque Country where he had snacks on tap – going out four or five nights a week to stroll around the pincho bars was his idea of heaven. But, after a 24 hour flight and the shock of 10 days of quarantine, Billie adjusted to being back here. When we left New Zealand it was very hard to go anywhere with a dog. Coming back we found that things had changed. The 2014 Food Act made it legal for bars and cafes to allow dogs on the premises, which was something that has always been the case in the UK and much of Europe (though not in Australia). Billie fitted back in faster than we did and soon learned where all the best snacks were to be had (Spooky Boogie, Civil & Naval and Fat Tony’s).

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Signs of Penguins – Road Trip to Otago

Billie and I went on a mini-road trip south this weekend. We stopped off in Oamaru, which is famous for its penguins. As well as the little blue penguin, there is a colony of yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho), which are only found in New Zealand. It is threatened by fishing nets, climate change and disease and dogs aren’t allowed anywhere near them, so the closest we got was this:
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