Hello fellow tree huggers
Favorite thing: We allocated one day as a let's-go-look-at-kauri-trees day. To that end we commenced at Manginangina, a small area set on a back road heading south out of Kaeo (about 30ks north of Bayof Islands).
The road winds through pleasant forest scenery until you reach the reserve and then it's only a short board walk to reach an impressive stand of kauri. These trees are more in your hundreds of years old than the thousands we would see later but noteworthy nonetheless.
We pushed on dwon the dirt road then went through Kaikohe (back on the tar) and off to Omapere on the west coast, seeking the biggie, Tane Mahuta. Again, this tree, rated the biggest in terms of timber available, is only a short walk in from highway 12 and is definitely large. With a total height of 51.5 metres and a girth of 13.8 it is believed to be around 2,000 years old.
Fondest memory: However, someone had told us that there is another walk a little further south that is more rewarding and we aimed for that. Our informant was correct. If you want to see only one kauri tree then I would recommend Te Matua Ngahere. Though this tree is nowhere near as tall (only 29.9 metres), its massive girth of 16.41 metres happens to be where you see the tree and it not only is big, it looks big.
Of course, not even these monsters are free from drama and, just two weeks before we were there a severe storm brought down a rata, one of several epiphytes (things that grow on trees but don't hurt them) and it dragged down a large branch. Thus there was much debris at the base and it had been roped off to protect the fragile roots from interlopers.
Despite this, this 3,000 year old monster was unforgettable and, en route there are other big trees to see such as the Four Sisters. You can do the walk in less than an hour and it's an easy stroll, no hills involved.
On the southern side is an office where you can get details but we didn't stop there as we were coming from the other end and it was closed when we were leaving.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
A quality experience
Favorite thing: In addition to the previous there's a raft of things to see. They have an entire saw mill (pic 1),
amazing historical scenes in period costumes (pic 2), an extensive collection of historic photos that I found rivetting (pic 3), quality furniture pieces made from kauri and other native species (pic 4) and a huge log with the ring lines explained (pic 5).
So many other things are there that they are too numerous to list here but, suffice it to say that, if you are the slightest bit curious, this place should be high on your priorities of things to do in New Zealand.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
The Kauri experience
Favorite thing: "Allow two hours to see the museum." The words resonated in my ears; surely an hour would cover a museum about a tree.
How wrong was I. We walked in at 3.00pm and, when closing time arrived, we were nearly being ushered out the door and we still wanted to see more.
Having visited many a museum in my time I have to say this is one of the finest I have seen and is a credit to those whose vision brought it all together.
Matakohe is an isolated village in the middle of nowhere yet, so good is this establishment, there's a constant flow of visitors.
Fondest memory: If there's one thing I remember clearly amongst many stand outs it was the dummies (pics 1,4,5,). They are made by Owen Yeoman from Napier and are so life like at times you have to double take to make sure they're not real.
At $15 per person it represents value for money and you will not only see every aspect of the tree but there's also stuff about the Boer War, trains and other totally unexpected items.
One of the features is the gum room. The resin from the sap leaking from a wounded tree was prized and a whole industry grew up around it so this part of the kauri has a room all its own and then some.
It was used for the finest varnish, paint and linoleum floor covering mainly, though also as marine glue, dressing for calico, sealing wax and candles, fire kindlers, cigar holders and pipes, wax matches, mouldings and butanol testing of oil products.
There were even sculptures (pic 2) and animals stuck in the gum (pic 3).
It is extraordinary to comtemplate people digging around in mud trying to unearth ancient trees and resin from the sodden earth, even more extraordinary that they could make a living out of doing such a thing.
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
Favorite thing: Chances are that sometime during you Bay of Islands excursion you'll want to visit Russell. To get there you have three options: 1. Drive; 2. Catch a car ferry and drive; 3. Catch a ferry direct.
Now, the first option involves a fairly circuitous route and a lot of time to get there. En route there'll be some nice scenery but it's the least preferred option amongst locals and tourists.
The second option is popular with locals but when you bear in mind that it's $10 per car and you've still got petrol to pay for, it can be costly.
The third option is the cheapest, unless you have a family of half a dozen or more, and it's a pleasant trip from Paihia if the weather is in your favour. This is the option favoured by tourists.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: It really doesn't matter what direction you take, there are scenic drives everywhere and this one that heads out to Whangaruru North certainly has its moments
I would encourage enyone staying in the Bay of Islands to utilize your vehicle because the rewards are many.
On this scenic route out the back of Russell it winds through lush countryside for a time until you reach the ocean again and then it certainly rates up with the best of them.
Fondest memory: For me the highlight was Elliot Bay. This idyllic setting of a sandy beach with small lines of swell drifting in from the sea (pic 1) is so romantic yet it is relatively remote so remains unexploited even to this day. As you come over the hill and first see the water (pic 5) it looks nice and just gets better from there.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Paihia - weekend market
Favorite thing: there is a small green patch and on the weekends you see several stalls. Not many, but enough for me. There were lots of nice wood works - very well priced compared to shops, and also you can bargain. They normally give 15 pct discount. I bought some picture frame and a platter made of kauri wood.
Paihia - shopping
Favorite thing: We drove to Paihia early in the morning - it is a strip of shops and restaurants, and of course lots of lodging, and tour opertors to the sea etc. We went to church - funny but we found out that most of the churches here co-share their services like the one we went to was Anglican and Catholic mass, we saw another church which co share with Pebysterian and Methodist etc.
Of course we went shopping...Cabbage Tree is interesting... lots of local produce, we bought some painted tiles with NZ motifs like koru and the fern leaf, I bought some pot holders, and some paua shell to hold soap. Got that idea from the Cliffedge.
what about some skin care
Favorite thing: Living Nature - I bot some nice stuff from here, one eye gel - which you only needed tiny dot for both eyes and the lips at night. I also bought some antiseptic gel made of the much acclaimed manuka honey.
Fondest memory: LIVING NATURE
Skin and body care made of New Zealand.
Open daily, Summer 9am - 6pm, Winter 9am - 5pm
State Highway 10
Going around KeriKeri -
Favorite thing: About 20 mins drive from our lodge is KeriKeri. KeriKeri in Maori means keep on digging. Kerikeri is noted for its arts and crafts, so we decided to check it out.
Our first stop was this wooden craft shop...huge stuff!!! Most of the stuff are made of local wood - n there was plenty to choose.
Fondest memory: KAURI WORK SHOP
Largest selection of Kauri products in Northland. Small Gifts, Bowls, Tables and Mirrors.
Favorite thing: next door is famous confectionary, Makana. We were served Makanas chocolates during after dinner t the Cliffedge...
I recommend buying their popcorn, macadamia coated with honey and orange flavour, and also some slices with berry taste.. the unfortunate thing is there was not much tasting so we could not decide what to buy.
Fondest memory: MAKANA CONFECTIONS
Boutique Chocolate Factory - free viewing and tasting.
Open daily 9am - 5:30pm
never ever have lunch here at York Street Cafe,
Favorite thing: while at Russell we were hungry and wanted quick bite - opted the York Street Cafe - which is next postie, n not far from the museum.
terrible service....and ultra rude staff. even while they were taking the food order, you could see the frown on her face...
nearby are lots of shops, art shops, gift shops and across are public toilets
Chef bidding goodnite
Favorite thing: Peter came and checked if everything was OK and then bid us goodnite, after he fed us with such a sumptuous meal...
He asked what we wanted for breakfast, and Carola took our after dinner drink orders and
we adjourned to the lounge for more merry making
n the Main course
Favorite thing: I was already up to the rim....and here comes the main course - perfectly cooked salmon - so moist inside...still pinkish..with mash and spaggethied zucchinis. some of us just could not tuck in further, so we left our salmon for Peter to make them into salmon cakes instead!!!
Favorite thing: Using the fresh local produce, Peter gave endless platters of seafood entrees. I piled some on my plate to pic this...
we had freshly shucked oysters, mussels with sundried tomatoes, n smoked cod, n corn cakes with avocado salsa
Favorite thing: very interesting...not sure if Peter the host was surprised by a huge bunch of Asian guests at his lodge!!! We were totally surprised though by his rendition of Tom Yam soup - it was simply deeelicious...and it came with a springy n tasty seafood dumplungs!!!! yum to the last drop
and look at even the presentation - came with a kaffir lime leave
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