Flashpacking New Zealand with Stray – Day 4 – Blue Duck Lodge

A shed with cut firewood tumbling out.

A woodshed located on Dan Steele's Blue Duck Lodge.

Woke up early this morning on the off chance there would be a dawn skydive in the works, but the sound of rain and outside quickly told me that wasn’t going to happen.  Got some work done and headed out to get on the bus.  A handful of the tribe were a bit late getting up and out, so we left a bit behind schedule this morning, but that didn’t effect our timeline too bad since we were headed to Blue Duck Lodge.

Blue Duck Lodge

Blue Duck Lodge is the property of Dan Steele, a Kiwi heavily invested in conservation.  An enormous piece of property just west of center on the north island, Dan is trying to protect an endangered species called the blue duck.  As part of his project, he brings in groups of travelers and offers them accommodation and a number of activities.  Eco warriors and green travelers might want to spend more time there helping with the conservation project, and he’s had travelers come through who’ve stayed for months at a time.

A small group does the 4WD safari trip at the Blue Duck Lodge.

A small group does the 4WD safari trip.

Activity options on the property include horse trekking, 4-wheel-drive safari, goat hunting, bush walking, clay pigeon shooting, bush walking and axe throwing.  The axe throwing and bush walking are the free options where as horse trekking, 4WD safari and the goat hunting cost about $80-$120.  The goat is an introduced species that’s a pest on the property, along with the rats, stoats and feral cats that he tries to trap.

I went on the safari with four others.  We started with a tour of the property before heading into the subtropical rainforest to try and spot the blue duck.  In the summer, we would have been able to kayak through the gorge on his property, but once again the wet weather canceled that part of our safari due to high water levels.

We trekked down the muddy path to the stream at the base of the waterfall and then moved onto a different part of the stream before spotting a pair of the endangered animals.  The whole tour gives you an idea of what Mr. Steele is trying to do and lets you explore a bit of the rainforest.  The kayaks would have really made the tour, so give it a go in the summer when the water will be more navigable.

One of the endangered Blue Ducks at Blue Duck Lodge.

One of the endangered Blue Ducks at Blue Duck Lodge.


After the cold and wet tour we split up to eat, write journal entries and postcards, and take care of all the odds and ends people need to deal with.  I managed to get a group of a dozen or so together for a game of “Celebrity” before we crashed for the night.  A pretty easy game to play, it’s a good one for flashpackers to have in their bag of tricks.

You’ll need paper, a few pens, a timer, and some container you can pass around.  Give each person three small strips of paper.  Have them write the name of a famous person on each piece, fold it, and put it in the container.  The people can be real or fictional, living or dead, as long as everyone playing has a chance of knowing who they are.  (ie. Don’t choose someone famous within a single country when playing international travelers).

Once everyone’s put three names in the hat, form into equal teams with at least three people per team, and space yourselves equally A, B, A, B, A, B or A, B, C, A, B, C etc.  Put 45 second on the timer and pick a person to start.  There are three rounds and the object for each round is to have your team guess the name on the piece of paper.  When they get one correct, you go to the next name and try and get as many as you can, each one worth a point.

For the first round, you can give as many clues as you like, and your team can make as many guesses as they like, but you can’t pass a name.  After the first round, put all the names back into the container for round two.  During round two, the clue giver can only give a one-word clue, and the team can only make one guess.  The first guess out is the one that counts.  During round three, the clue giver can only gesture clues (no words) and again, the guessers have only one guess.  Round two and three work because everyone knows the names in the container from going through round one.

The team with the most points wins.

Accomodation: Blue Duck Lodge
Activity: 4WD Safari (aka farm tour)

Go back and read about what happened the previous day or find out what happened next.

The above is posted from the road during the middle of a month long trip through New Zealand with Stray.  If you don’t know who stray is, read the intro to the trip or check out their website.

In an attempt to give you an idea of what the trip is like I’ll be posting like I was writing a journal, but with some practical information in case you want to follow in my footsteps.