Canterbury jaunt: Quail Island

We’ve been In Christchurch for a couple weeks and while we are ‘home’, we explore the Canterbury region. About 30 minutes away is the busy working port of Lyttleton.

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New Zealand’s main exports are dairy products and lumber and most of it goes to China.

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We, however, were not headed to China but to Quail Island:
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A 15 minute ferry ride took us to this 81-hectare deserted island. But is hasn’t always been empty. At one time it housed a ‘leper village’ of eight unfortunate souls, one of whom died and is buried here. Huskies and ponies were trained on Quail Island for Antarctic expeditions. Robert Scott had his dogs trained here for the 1901 Discovery expedition. And immigrants were quarantined on the island for illnesses such as Spanish flu and diphtheria.

leper grave

leper grave

For some reason it is also a ship graveyard. Birds like ship bones.

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Of course Quail Island is home to quail!

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California quail, that is. New Zealand quail are extinct.

What does she mean by 'deserted island? Excuse us!'

What does she mean by ‘deserted island?’ Excuse us!

In retrospect, Quail Island’s past is one of hardship and despair. (All Admiral’s Scott’s dogs and ponies died on the Discovery expedition.) Local kids are invited to Quail Island for an upcoming Easter egg hunt. Happy times ahead.