Tutukaka and the Poor Knights

Trip Start Oct 12, 2005
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Trip End Apr 23, 2006


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Saturday, March 4, 2006

4th March 2006

Tutukaka - a house of our own.

THERE ARE SOME GIANT TREES IN NEW ZEALAND CALLED KAURI'S BUT MOST WERE CUT DOWN WHEN THE EUROPEAN SAILORS CAME TO MAKE MASTS AND BUILD HOUSES SO YOU HAVE TO GO A LONG WAY TO SEE THEM. THE OLDEST ARE OVER 2000 YEARS OLD AND THE BIGGEST WE SAW WAS OVER 50 FEET IN CIRCUMFERENCE. "AWESOME" AS THEY SAY OUT HERE. TRY FORMING A CIRCLE TO SEE JUST HOW BIG THIS TREE IS.

WE THINK WE HAD OUR FIRST EARTHQUAKE.THEY SAID THERE HAD BEEN ONE IN wELLINGTON AND WE BOTH THOUGHT THE ROOM SHOOK IN TUTUKAKA BUT THOUGHT WE MIGHT BE DREAMING.

We are now spending a week in a place called Tutukaka instead of Auckland and have a 3 bedroomed house in secluded grounds all to ourselves with a huge deck and a Barbie. After staying in YHA's this is real class with a big kitchen and sky TV. I can't get Vicki away from UKTV!! There are lots of sheltered bays around here which are excellent for fishing and snorkelling though the water is not that warm, about 20'C so Vicki has only dipped her toes most of the time. We are making full use of the BBQ and it is warm enough to eat out on the deck most evenings.

The marina is full of boats to die for but the shops are obviously built for those with a lot of money. Vicki has decided to come out with me when I dive the Poor Knights Islands, a Marine Reserve just off shore. This turned out to be some of the best diving I have done so far. Visability well up to 30 metres and loads of fish with swim throughs and caverns. The only downside is needing to wear quite a bit of neoprene to keep out the cold but well worth it for such a stunning area.

We decided to make one big trip in the car over to the west coast to look at the Kauri forests. Distances here are quite large to get from one place to another and often take longer because of the twisty roads. It didn't help that I got lost at the start in Whangarai, one of the local towns. It took about 2 hours to get to the west coast to a town called Dargaville which was totally based on agriculture and had some of the biggest tractors I have ever seen. As we worked our way North up the coast the scenery became more rugged and we eventually entered the Waupo Kauri forests. I couldn't resist a detour up a steep gravel road to a lookout which was well worthy the effort but I don't think Vicki was too pleased with me trying to get back down on loose gravel. She left finger imprints on the grab handle.
Went for a walk in the forest to a tree called the "Father of the Forest" which appears just as you come round the bend on a boardwalk and so is totally unexpected and it really takes your breath away. At first we thought it was a lump of cliff face and although it isn't really that tall it is over 50 feet in circumference and you feel so small alongside something this big which has been growing for over 2000 years and was a seedling before the birth of Christ. We saw other big Kauri on our trip but none as inspiring as this. What a terrible shame so many were cut down by the early european settlers!

After a journey this long I ended up with a splitting headache but don't regret a minute of it. However, the next day was spent recovering and on Saturday we return to Auckland for the flight to Tahiti on Sunday. Since we cross the International Date Line we actually arrive on the Saturday, gaining a day so I hope I have booked the accommadation for the right dates. We have both loved our time in New Zealand; both the Country and the People have so much to offer and the Maori Culture has been absolutely fascinating.

As you should see from our emails and texts we are not sure how easy it will be to keep in touch from now on but in an emergency Jay does have all the contact details. On Vicki's mobile,from today, 2nd March, we are back on her old UK number for texts since the local Sim card has now run out and we are not sure whether we will have a signal in Tahiti. We are pretty sure that the phone itself will not work from Easter Island onwards but if this is the case we will try and phone from Chile or Peru re times andflights for coming home. I am also not sure whether we will be able to access the Internet in Moorea since we may be a bit isolated and the same applies to Easter Island but we should be back on the Web in Chile where we arrive on 23rd March so expect to hear from us a few days after this.
So, don't worry if we are out of contact for 2-3 weeks from now, if we have any problems we will phone.

So its Goodbye from her and its Goodbye from him!!!!!
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