Birth of New Zealand
Trip Start Jan 24, 2011
29Trip End Feb 23, 2011
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After a long night (wedding on site!) we left the camp site and dropped into Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
The Waitangi National Trust now own the land which includes the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on 6 February 1840. This place is considered the birth of New Zealand but before 1840 it attracted early Polynesian settlers and was occupied for centuries by competing Maori tribes.
James Busby was appointed as British Resident in New Zealand and arrived in 1833 after reports of lawless behaviour
Magnificent views across the Bay of Islands make this a truly magical place. Although the house has been changed / extended since that time you still get a real feel for the atmosphere and character of how it would have been.
As part of the Centenary Celebrations in 1940 the Ngatokimatawhaorua (canoe) was launched and a replica meeting house built. A minimum of 76 paddlers are required to handle it safely on the water and it was made from three massive kauri trees felled from the Puketi Forest.
From Waitangi we took the short car ferry trip across to a place called Russell which served in times gone by as a whaling station.
The wheel had been passed to me by this time and the roads changed from long sweeping bends to a formulae one race track. All windy bends and sheer drops and climbs, the van and me struggled our way around them fighting each other all the way!
Russell was another lawless town earning the title of "Hell-hole of the Pacific". Today, this quaint little town is involved in tourism, fishing, oyster farming and other cottage industries. The museum, formerly known as Captain Cook Memorial Museum, features a working model of Captain Cook's Endeavour. Lots of clapper board houses, hotels and original buildings.
After a very enjoyable light lunch we made our way to the next camp site for the night at Whangarei. The great thing about this country at this time of the year is you really don’t need to book anywhere. Just look at the maps and decide where you want to be and when and there is always somewhere to stay. The camp is part of the Top Ten Holiday Parks group and was immaculate and at £20 for both of us, a real bargain.