Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to drop my youngest son off for a college semester abroad on the south island of New Zealand at the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Lucky me, I was able to escort my son to New Zealand, plus combine it with a once in a lifetime plein air painting adventure through New Zealand and Australia!

So with only a month to plan, I packed up my son and me, organized my plein air painting gear and grabbed a friend to go with me on the month long adventure. One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to remote Lake Moeraki and the Wilderness Lodge, along with our nature guide, John Duberly, rightly known on Twitter as @TheEcoMan.

He taught us about the Maori people, the unusual plants, the flora and fauna. We searched for and after many hours, found rare penguins and feed and played with the aggressive Longfin Eels as you can see in the video below >>> (be sure and check out some interesting facts listed below the video box.)

New Zealand is like no other place I have ever visited in the world.

Here is why:

  • This unique country separated from the rest of the world’s landmasses about 80-100 million years ago and evolved in isolation.
  • Because of this, it is home to many unique plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world – including the longfin eel.
  • New Zealand was the last landmass on earth to be discovered, making it the youngest country.

Eel Facts:

  • The longfin eel is found only in New Zealand.
  • Travelling far inland, it may be the country’s most widely distributed freshwater fish.
  • They are probably the world’s biggest eels.
  • They may grow up to 1.75 metres, and the biggest caught and measured so far weighed 24 kilograms.
  • Any New Zealand eel over 1 metre long and caught inland is probably a longfin specimen.
  • Eels were important food for native Māori people and it took effort and ingenuity to catch them.
    • Traps, nets and other devices were often complex and sophisticated.
    • In the 19th and 20th centuries, many New Zealand children went eeling, and catching one was almost a rite of passage.

woman hugging her son

(This is me hugging my son goodbye…from this point forth, his classroom would be in the ‘bush’ for 3 months! He is back now and had an amazing experience.)

*****

You might also enjoy these fun and useful articles:

New Zealand: Painting & Playing in the God Zone

Birdwatching in New Zealand: In Search of the Rare Fiordland Penguin

How to Pack for Painting: Tips to For the Painter Traveling by Plane or Car

How to Build Pochade Box from a Cigar Box

To learn more about New Zealand’s Eels visit: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/eels/2

Stay tuned…I will share some of my Australian adventures soon…

I hope you enjoyed your quick trip to New Zealand! Please feel free to comment and share your adventures or any questions. ~Lori 🙂