The Mokihinui River above the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge has a massive, 68,000 hectare catchment. Bordering Kahurangi National Park, which is under consideration as a World Heritage Area for its remarkable diversity of landforms, flora and fauna, the Mokihinui catchment features steep river gorges cloaked in indigenous podocarp and beech forests and tussock tops with tarns and alpine species.

The Mokihinui is highly ranked in New Zealand in terms of natural heritage value. Environmentally rich and geologically diverse, the catchment provides important habitat for the endangered native blue duck (whio) and the threatened long-fin eel.

On our property and nearby are several wonderful examples of giant podocarps, including rimu, matai and rata. These forest giants host rich and diverse vegetation (epiphytes, native orchids, etc.). Counting the number of species hosted in each of these trees is one of our favourite past-times. A wide variety of native fungi, ferns and mosses can be seen very close to the lodge. The most magnificent species of dawsonia superba (among the world's largest mosses) we've ever seen is right on site.

Surveys conducted in early 2007 found the following threatened and endangered species in the catchment: blue duck (whio), western weka, kaka, kereru, kakariki and the giant Powelliphanta land snail. Kea and kiwi were also detected, as were significant populations of small forest birds, such as tomtits, robins, and bellbirds.

At the lodge, we notice definite seasonal variations amid bird species. Weka, highly intelligent flightless birds, are very present and have been known to steal our guests' canapes (and bootlaces and any small shiny objects left lying around outside). Tui and kereru are common during summer months, and provide excellent bird watching opportunities.

Deer and goats were introduced about 80 years ago and continue to be widely found. Goats are commonly seen on the Glasgow Tops, and deer -- occasionally seen at the lodge -- are in significant numbers at the Mokihinui Forks, providing ample hunting opportunities.

Other introduced species such as possums, stoats and rats, wreak havoc on the native ecology, and we strive to control their numbers through a monitored trapping programme. In June 2010 alone we caught three stoats, a great result considering their cunning.