I was watching TV a couple of weeks ago and there was an ad for a new Australian TV show called “Australia Doesn’t Just Want to Kill You”. I kid you not, really. Check out the link. Australia is known for it’s scary creatures — I spent three weeks in Australia several years ago and before the trip I was obsessed with Googling all of the things that I had heard could kill me. This link has the top 30 deadly animals in Australia and they are fascinating.
But the show I mentioned above is probably going to be great as it focuses on good uses for the scary critters as well as telling you more about them. And, in Australia’s defense, we didn’t have any bad encounters (or even close ones) with dangerous creatures the whole time we were there. We found some leeches in the rainforest and were a bit grossed-out having to remove them but that was it despite camping under the stars in the outback for several nights.
You would think that New Zealand being so close (relatively) to Australia would have the same issue. But we don’t. Not at all. Not even slightly. NZ has practically nothing that wants to kill you. There’s only one poisonous spider that is native to here – the others were introduced from Australia and only have small populations. We have no venomous snakes — in fact, we have no snakes at all (native or introduced). We have no large scary mammals — no bears, no large cats, etc. If you encountered a wild pig in the woods that would be about the worst you could expect. You can go tramping (hiking) in the woods with pretty much no concerns about kicking over a rock and finding a spider, disrupting a snake or disturbing a bear. It’s liberating.
The only animals I have ever had issues with are sand flies and Keas. I’ll leave sand flies for another blog post as they can be truly annoying. The Kea is a parrot endemic to NZ — they are nosy, curious things and will invade your campsite when you’re not looking. They are harmless, but they believe what’s yours is theirs and they have no fear. We had a couple at our campsite in the south island — they poked a hole in our water jug, tried to eat the cover off the kayak and attempted to run away with the can opener before we were even out of bed in the morning!