Tim Stead - Fantasy Writer


This is an occasional blog, and will be updated as and when something occurs to me. Happy reading. Any opinions expressed here are just that - opinions. They are not intended to represent anything else. There is no intent to offend. Anyway, it's all © Tim Stead.

Orana - 14th September 2015

Christchurch has New Zealand's only open range zoo - Orana Park - tucked away along McClean's Island Road. They are one of the zoos that I like, focussed on conservation, breeding and education. They have a smart approach, with a cascading series of animal feeding times linked to talks by the keepers, who seem only too happy to stop and chat about the animals in their care. This gives you a comfortable pace to stroll around the 80 hectare park (200 acres) and catch all the action. It's worth doing because, as this is an open range zoo, the animals will often choose to be elsewhere when not being fed, and may appear as a distant dot at the back of a large paddock.

They do not have a huge variety of animals, but try to show them to their best advantage. The signature attraction would probably be the lion experience where visitors are placed inside a caged vehicle and driven into the lion enclosure (see photo). The lions are fed through the cage and so climb on top and lean against the sides - about as close as you can get to a hungry lion without being eaten.

The Kea aviary - a walk through - was also fun. The Keas - Alpine parrots - are intelligent and relatively fearless, walking quite happily around the feet of visitors. One of them has apparently worked out how to press the button that releases the door, but can't push the door open at the same time. Apparently they love hard boiled eggs, but it's a bad idea to feed them in the wild because they can lose their foraging skills which makes it harder for them to survive a tough winter.

The latest addition to the park is the great ape house, which had just opened with a trio of young male western lowland gorillas. The eldest of these, Fataki, who is twelve, apparently has the strength of eleven men, so no trouble with opening sticky jam jar lids then.

The park is ornamented by dozens of Acacia trees, pretty much all of which were out in bright yellow display, and with the temperature a balmy 20C it was hard not to think of it as a summer's day, though we are barely into spring.

A good place to visit, a worthy cause to support, and a well managed zoo.

Previous entries

Writers should Read: 1. Poetry. - May 19th 2013
Magic - May 22th 2013
Rakaia Gorge - August 28th 2013
The Storm - October 21st 2013
Bridal Veil Falls - November 11th 2013
Crime and Punishment - January 27th 2014
The Great Adventure - March 1st 2014
The Future - March 1st 2014
I Need You - April 23rd 2014
A Week in Paradise - May 31st 2014
The Other Side of the Mountain - June 19th 2014
New Brighton - June 28th 2014
Five things to do in New Zealand - July 12th 2014
Mount Grey - July 16th 2014
Golden Bay - August 30th 2014
Armageddon - October 29th 2014
Godley Head - January 10th 2015
Kites and Contortionists - January 26th 2015
Shanakan - February 6th 2015
Lazy Sundays in Hagley Park - February 9th 2015
Mount Hutt Ski Field - 25th February 2015
Winter is Coming - 14th April 2015
Shaken, Not Stirred - 26th April 2015
The Lawkeeper of Samara - 6th July 2015
Where the Wild Things Are - 14th July 2015