Posted by: sabrina | October 5, 2009

Last chance to see – New Zealand

kiwiNEW ZEALAND is a great destination for travellers from all over the world. It is also a great place to spot Kiwis. Or not?

THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY: KIWI spotting, weta watching and penguin pictures: our beautiful country is full of surprises, Ben Ross discovered when he travelled to New Zealand. -read more here

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A BBC production also highlights New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna in a new TV series, based on a radio show 20 years ago.

Public service broadcaster BBC picked up on their original radio series “Last Chance to see”, which was first broadcasted in 1989, to turn it into a TV production with Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry.

The background of “Last Chance to see” in a nutshell:

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

"Last Chance to see"-explorers Mark Carwardine and Douglas Adams (pic: BBC)

In 1985, naturalist Mark Carwardine and writer Douglas Adams were sent off by the Observer Coloured Magazine to Madagaskar to search for a nocturnal lemur that was believed to be endangered.

In the following year, they travelled the globe in order to look for more species close to extinction.

In 1990, a book called “Last Chance to see” was published as a companion to the BBC radio series of the same name.

While Douglas and Mark spent a year travelling the world, Douglas’ friend, Stephen Fry, stayed in Douglas’ house, “taking urgent phone calls to send maps and lenses to faraway places”.


First-hand experience: Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine take their task to explore the world very serious. (pic: Mark Carwardine)

In 2001, Mark and Douglas thought about heading off to new adventures, but before they even had the chance to make plans, Douglas passed away after having suffered from a heart attack.

Twenty years after the original journey, Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry decided to find out what has become to the animals in two decades.

In 2008/2009, they headed off to a new journey, to discover, what has affected the animals’ fortunes.

At the beginning of this year, Mark and Stephen visited New Zealand to explore and  discover the country’s bird world.

The NZ episodes of the show have been broadcasted on BBC this week and are available to watch on BBC iPlayer online: click here.

Have a look at Mark Carwardine’s and Stephen Fry’s blog about New Zealand here.

View their world map where they marked the places they have been to and find what they found – here.

WHAT are your favourite places in New Zealand? What do people visiting New Zealand HAVE to see? What are our national treasures? – Please let us know and share your stories here (comment).


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