As we become more aware of what we are doing to the planet, there are more books and studies being published about the benefits of being connected with nature. It’s ironic that the only way to make this significant to us selfish humans is to point out how it’s useful to us – in fact, our existence depends upon it.
I’ve been longing to be in native bush again. Stevenson’s Island is the closest I’ve managed so far, and parts of my morning walk today to Beacon Point.
There is a “tide mark” of driftwood from the flood. As at the beach, people seem to be drawn to building structures with it.
As you can see, there is a mix of native and exotic vegetation.
Some property owners have planted native species.
Other owners prefer a traditional, romanticised environment.
Invasive plants, invasive rabbits, invasive humans and their luxury developments, invasive species of all kinds – yet the beauty of the lake remains – for now.
Afterword: Some reading on the topic of connecting with nature: NZ Listener article “The Spirit of the Land” (Jan 11). TheOverstory by Richard Powers (winner of 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction).
We’ve sat on the balcony watching the Wanaka Cruises’ launch, Dual Image, go up the lake and back every day when we are here. So, I booked a trip to Stevenson’s Island.
The launch is very nice with lots of places to sit and watch the familiar, and then less familiar, bays and hills go by.
Rather disturbingly, the mountains were partly obscured by smoke from the Australian bush fires.
On Stevenson’s Island we learnt that the Buff Weka had been saved from extinction on this predator-free island. They have since been widely distributed about the South Island. Although they are no longer on the island, we saw a lot of little birds including fantails, piwakawaka and a little black duck with even smaller fluffy ducklings.
The island is sub-alpine, I guess, so the vegetation is quite low kanuka mixed scrubland. There are also species of kowhai and totara which are suited to this altitude. A community project is working to restore rata to the island which was depleted by the possums and rabbits before they were eradicated.
The dozen or so people on board were from Denmark, France, UK, US and Asia. But the skipper was from Invercargill! I spent most of the trip chatting to a Canadian woman about our travels, sailing experiences, art, the climate, politics and all manner of things over glasses of wine and beer on the way back.