The ‘Explore and Learn’ weekend from Te Anau started with an interesting outdoor lecture by the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Jamie McAulay about the endangered Kea and the work DOC and volunteers are doing to give them a chance of survival.
Jamie McAulay, Senior Ranger, completed his Masters in Wildlife Management at Otago Uni.  His research was looking into how we can better protect alpine wildlife from that nasty invasive predator, the stoat.  Jamie has worked for DOC following a degree in Radio Broadcasting from the New Zealand Broadcasting School.  He had just amazingly sited, that day, a Takahe in the wild in the Murchison mountains.
Unfortunately our speaker, Kerri-Anne Edge from the Marine Guardians, postponed her talk due to Covid concerns.  She has offered to come to Queenstown to one of our regular meetings to be a guest speaker - something to look forward to.
After the lecture, pleasantly held outdoors, we all set off for a shared meal at the Fat Duck for the Queenstown and Balclutha Rotarians with Jamie along as well for further insights.  
Saturday we all set out to explore Fiordland by boat, hiking, helicopter and biking in the company of fellow Rotarians.  The conservation of our native flora and fauna has been the overarching message when exploring and enjoying the stunning area of Fiordland - so pleased that one of Rotary ‘areas of focus’ is protecting the environment.
Of the journeys undertaken, several of the team did the Doubtful Sound (Patea) journey out to the Tasman Sea.  Some went to Milford Sound and took the boat cruise.  Others set out to complete the Heli hike full day trip, taking a scenic flight via helicopter to Luxmore Hut and then hiking back to Te Anau.  Of note were the Climos hiking a further 7km, either a mistaken turn off or they just liked the hiking.smiley
Three families took the opportunity to cycle to Manapouri via the scenic cycling tracks.  The Huitts were so inspired after the debriefs and, even after a day of helihiking, they too did the 65km cycling trip.
The evenings consisted of light refreshments on the lake front to catch up with everyone and their adventures.  The mornings, for those that wanted, breakfast was at the Sandfly Cafe.
The last evening was an informal BBQ.  This was a relaxing wind down and cemented the weekend and the new friendships. 
Note:  The Balclutha contingent tell us they have been inspired to organise a shared weekend adventure, as well, sometime in the near future.  So watch this space.
For more photos click on 'read more'