Our destination for the night was Aroha Island Eco Centre, a tiny island in the Kerikeri inlet in the Bay of Islands. It is linked to the mainland by a permanent causeway and has a visitor centre, accomodation and a campsite with, for the wussy campers we have become, (solar) hot water and electricity.
It was like staying in a nature reserve. We camped amid fantails and a large and noisy passle of ducks who spent a lot of time parading around the camping area. Kererus cooed noisily in the trees, variable oyster catchers trilled on the shore. Tuis called from the treetops with their unmistakable bell-like song.
And, the dark, we heard the screech, in the distance, of kiwis.
Aroha is a haven for the birds, who can often be seen there at night. We set off in the evening, armed with a torch covered in red cellophane, treading as noiselessly as we could along the paths. A fingernail moon glinted on the silver fern trees.