Traveles around the North Island
Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
207Trip End Jul 20, 2014
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
It felt so good to be free, to travel and stop whenever I wanted to do and not having to depend on a bus (which wouldn't go to the places I went in the first place).
The focal point is the world famous Kauri Museum depicting the mighty kauri tree and faithfully charting the history of the people, area and community. Magnificent displays, steam sawmills and large mill machinery, kauri gum exhibits, a quality 1900's kauri house, beautiful kauri and other native timber panels, extensive photographs, historic buildings and superb collections of memorabilla make The Kauri Museum a "must see".
Unfortunately, I got there ˝ hour before museum closing and did not get to see it. I checked out the store though and witnessed some Asian customers buying two kauri gum stones worth 1200NZ$. It must be great just to point at things and say I'll take this and that, how much do I owe you. Here are 1200$.... The museum store had a wonderful selection of kauri articles, anything from spoons to bowels to masks. It would definitely be worth going back to Matakohe to pay a visit to the museum. From there I pressed on to Dargaville (Population 4,500, it is the "Kumara (sweet potato) Capital" of New Zealand. It lies approximately 2 1/2 hours drive North-West of Auckland. This town was built on New Zealand's early kauri tree trade and at one time boasted New Zealand's highest population)where my servas hosts Bruce and Theresa were waiting for meWaipoua Forest, known for its Kauri trees. The weather god was not good to me and it rained the entire day (because I left my raincoat in Dargaville). But the rain could not stop me and off I went traipsing through the forest admiring the majestic kauri trees. After visiting the forest, I continued on to Paiki Lookout to take in a breathtaking view of Hokianga Harbor and the township of Omapere and Opononi. The next day, I went to buy oil and an oil filter so Bruce could change my oil as oil changes are rather expensive here, about 80NZ$.
I left Dargaville and continued on back roads to Kaikohe, my next stop. Before settling there, I went to Kawakawa and Kerikeri. There is nothing to see or do in Kawakawa except for some beautiful Hundertwasser artwork. The public toilettes and a café a tourist magnets; Hundertwasser, an Austrian artist, lived in Kawakawa until his death in 2000. Kerikeri is knows for growing citrus and oranges as well as avocados. In Kaikohe, Maori for plenty of shellfish??????, I stayed with servas hosts Mary and Lindsay. They are former horticulturists and used to run a nursery behind their house
On the road again, this time all the way up to Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga, one of the most northern points of the country, is a place of great spiritual importance to the Maori. It is believed that from here the spirits of the dead took a last rest before beginning the long journey back to their ancestral homeland, Hawaiki. The calm blue Pacific Ocean and the tempestuous green Tasman Sea meet just below the Cape Reinga Lighthouse in a boiling, turbulent battle of the waters. Oh, how liked this place. It felt like the end of the world. I hiked the Cape Reinga Walkway among the sand dunes to Cape Maria Van Diemen. For the sunset viewing, I went to the lighthouse and admired the various colours of the sunset. What a great place to be, it's not easy to describe, one has to go there to feel it. I slept in my car in the parking lot near the lighthouse. I wanted to be up early to see the sunrise at the Cape. No sunrise the next day but I set off to another coastal walk towards Spirits Bay. Cape Reinga is a sacred place for Maoris and the Pohukutawa tree, where the spirits depart to the sea can be seen from the lighthouse. I could have spent a couple of days up there. It's a calm and peaceful place with a couple of walkways and places to camp. It's removed from civilisation and that's why I felt very connected to this place.