Thursday, January 12, 2012


On Tuesday morning we drove north from Auckland. We turned off the main highway to go to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe, stopping for a picnic lunch in Paparoa, the town before that. We were very pleased to see a sign in the park in Paparoa celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birthday.

The Kauri Museum is excellent. We spent about three hours there and felt rushed. Seriously, you could spend an entire day there! They have so much information and so many displays. It’s wonderful. Just do it!

However we were due in Paihia so we eventually had to leave. We took the back road north from Paparoa, after asking for directions and advice a couple of times. It was a lovely scenic drive, not only shorter than returning east to Highway 1 first but also had little traffic.

In Paihia we stayed two nights at the Marlin Court Motel at the eastern end of town. Our room was spacious with a full kitchen and ensuite; highly recommended. Dinner was cooked in the room both nights.

On Wednesday morning we checked out St Paul’s Anglican, an old stone church on the esplanade, before making our way to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Somewhat tired from several cultural experiences already we chose not to spend NZ$25 each to go in; instead Laetitia bought a very informative book for only NZ$20. We tried twice (once from each end of the road) to get to Mt Bledisloe but unfortunately the road was gravel, which our hire car insurance wouldn’t cover. We visited Haruru Falls just west of Paihia, noting the brown tint to the water and guessing that to be due to tannins from the trees upriver.

Laetitia bought fish and chips in town and we returned to our motel room to eat lunch and have a nap.

In the afternoon we drove across to the west coast. (So amusing to be able to drive across the country in less than two hours! Okay so you can only do it this close to the northern end.) We wanted to see Tane Mahuta in Waipoua Forest, the largest living Kauri in New Zealand. And it is amazingly big, 1250 years old and 50m high! Yet at 14m in girth it is only small compared to some of the older ones that once grew here (as we discovered at the Kauri Museum). Such a huge and beautiful tree. Well worth going to see.

Can you see me at the bottom of this photo?
On the way back we paused at Hokianga Harbour for some photos, as the cloudy, drizzly mist was a little clearer than it had been on the way through earlier, and we also turned off to see Rawene where the ferry goes across to Kohukohu on the northern side. We finally got back to our hotel at 7:00pm.

On Thursday morning we headed south again, the end of our holiday in sight.

No comments: