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Polar bear stuffy in front of mountains

Moon Bear loves to ride in my coat. Carey Ong photo.

by Maggie Cole

First Polar Bear Spotted at Mt Cook New Zealand

Today, we have a heartwarming story to share from one of our cherished guests, Carey Ong, who joined a Churchill Wild Polar Bear Safari back in 2017. Hailing from Palmerston North on the North Island of New Zealand, Carey recently took a little piece of Churchill Wild with her on a new journey, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share her tale. As a special tradition, Churchill Wild gifts all their guests with a polar bear stuffy at the end of their trip.

Polar bear stuffy in front of Wrinkly Rams Cafe

Wrinkly Rams Cafe for coffee in Omarama. Carey Ong photo.

Carey’s adventure with us on Great Ice Bear at Dymond Lake Ecolodge was nothing short of magical. From the breathtaking sight of polar bears up close to the dazzling display of the aurora borealis on her last night, every moment was a dream come true. Our friendly guides and the lively atmosphere, especially during Quiz Night where Carey emerged victorious, added to the unforgettable experience.

Polar bear stuffy in front of Walter Peak Station

Walter Peak Station (Farm). Carey Ong photo.

But the story doesn’t end there. Carey recently took a holiday to Queenstown and Mt Cook in the South Island of New Zealand, and she brought along a special companion—Moon Bear. This little bear, given to her by Churchill Wild, holds a special place in her heart. Named after a large male bear that the guides had nicknamed “Moon Bear” during her stay at Dymond Lake, this little bear became a travel icon in his own right.

Polar bear stuffy on ice bar

Ice Bar bartender bear. Carey Ong photo.

Carey documented Moon Bear’s journey through the stunning landscapes of New Zealand, capturing him against iconic backdrops and places of interest. From the serene shores of Queenstown’s lakes to the majestic peaks of Mt Cook, Moon Bear was quite the celebrity. Many curious travelers asked about him, giving Carey the perfect opportunity to share her amazing Churchill Wild adventure.

Polar bear in front of steamship

TSS Earnslaw – historic steamship. Carey Ong photo.

Carey’s enthusiasm and love for her experiences shine through in every photo and story. The locals even joked that Moon Bear might be the first polar bear to ever be spotted at Mt Cook! We’re delighted to see how the spirit of Churchill Wild continues to inspire and travel the world with our guests.

Thank you, Carey, for sharing your delightful journey with Moon Bear. Your photos and stories bring a smile to our faces and remind us of the incredible adventures and connections we create together!

Carey Ong and Moon Bear's Photo Gallery

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