Next stop Miranda. Along the Seabird Coast in New Zealand, Miranda is a wintering ground for Arctic birds. The Miranda Shorebird Centre, owned by the Miranda Naturalists’ Trust is a volunteer non-profit organization located about an hour south of Auckland near the mouth of the Firth of Thames. Each year, wading birds arrive down the East Asia Australia Flyway from their breeding grounds in eastern Siberia and Alaska. Not with a cocktail and a movie in a pressurized jet, either. And you thought you were the first one to come up with the idea of a winter in New Zealand?
Dropping south from Auckland, there are a couple of ways to hook into the Pacific Coast Highway– the Seabird Coast is along the northern part of this highway. We’ll turn off the motorway just south of
Manukau City. I mentioned the Top 10 Holiday Park at Manukau City before. It’s a convenient place to stay if you’re RVing or traveling by auto and want to rent a clean, inexpensive room. This park is close to downtown Auckland, a mall, and Rainbow’s End Adventure Park. If you’re driving and don’t want to tangle with traffic in a strange city while new to driving on the wrong side of the road, city buses stop right outside the park. Remember to bring that KOA card for a 10% discount at any Top 10 Park.
The Miranda Shorebird Centre has three bunk rooms plus two self-contained flats. We’ve stayed overnight at the Centre in our movan. If you like birds and have time to linger longer, why not join the Miranda Banders and get out there in the mud? Actually, it’s done at high tide with a cannon-net. If your New Zealand trip is in the future, help out the birds by joining this group. The quarterly Miranda News which members receive is well worth the small fee. Or, help with repairs at the Centre then head up the road to the Miranda Holiday Park and soak in the mineral pool. You’ll find motels rooms, backpacker rooms and RV and tent sites. Take some time to soak in the largest hot springs in the southern hemisphere. If you soak and
shrivel long enough, you might see the moon rise behind the Coromandels, that range of mountains marching down the center of the Coromandel Peninsula– our next stop.
Most of the photos in this blog are by Kiwi photographers. Three in this post are by Sandy Austin. I’ve used several by Sandy in the past. If you’d like to see more of her work, click through on a link and spend a little time on a picture tour of New Zealand. Plan to spend more than a little time. Sandy has 4,803 pictures posted.