Northland, New Zealand
Waitangi is adjoined to Paihia and this is where the controversial treaty between the Maori people and the representatives of Queen Victoria's goverment was signed in 1840. There is quite a lot to see here, like the largest Maori war waka (canoe) in the world, a Marae, and the house where the treaty was signed.
From the Waitangi reserve you have a great view of both Russel and Paihia in the distance as well as from Kororareka Bay. It is also a great place to sunbath if you have the time and if the sun is shining of course!
From Auckland you can travel up to Northland and the Bay of Islands. An amazing place it is up there. I stayed a few nights in Paihia and did some sailing there for a day and another day went up to Cape Reinga with Awesome Adventures. This is a full day trip and absolutely awesome...
In the morning you stop at a Kauri forest and then you move on to Cape Reinga and make few stops along the way. After the visit to this almost most northern part of New Zealand we went to a very nice beach for a swim. The best thing of the day was sandboarding. There are some huge sand dunes of 120 metres high which we had to climb with a body board. From the top we then went all the way down, reaching almost 50 km/h. Amazing adventure I can tell you!!! From there we drove back to Mongonui for some fresh fish and chips via 90 Mile Beach, which is in fact just 90 kilometres. What a great day and I would recoommend it for everyone who's in for a bit of an adventure!!
The forests of Waipoua are situated in Northland along SH 12 from Dargaville to Hokianga Harbour (Omapere and Opononi). It is an unique spot with native forest and it is famous for its huge kauri trees.
Most impressive is the tree called: Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest). It is one of the most ancient trees in the world with an age of about 2000 years. You feel so tiny in front of a trunk with a girth of 14 metres. Incredible and very impressive !!!
But there is more to see and do in the park. There are many walks: for instance to four kauris together: called the Four Sisters, the Lookout Track, or just make one of the other walks in this typical New Zealand forest (for maps and more information visit the DOC Information Centre, about 1 km from SH 12 along the Waipoua River).
The SH 12 through Waipoua Forest, although just 18 km's long, is for us one of the most beautiful road sections to drive in New Zealand. The native forest with all these kauri's, ferntrees and many many other green plants and bushes. It seems if the road is getting narrower each time we visit this part of New Zealand.
More information and pics: see my Northland page.
Originally, the Kauri Forest occupied a substantial portion of the North Island. Overtime, it was almost entirely extinguished. Gum extraction from the trees was also an important activity, which greatly contributed to the decay of trees. There is now a protected area along the north west coast between Dargaville and Opononi. At the Waipoua Kauri Forest, several gigantic specimens can be found, such as Te Mahuta Ngahere or Father of the Forest (in the picture; it’s diameter exceeds 5 meters!). Interestingly, immense logs 30-50,000 years old are now being unburied and used in the manufacturing of various wood crafts. Consider going to the memorable
Kauri Museum, at Matakohe, where souvenirs (mostly wood but also bone and jade carvings) can be purchased at very fair prices.
Although most of New Zealand has been clear cut for sheep/cattle grazing, you can still see some of the massive old growth Kauri trees at Waipoua. The tree in this picture is the "Father of the Forest". It's trunk is more than 5 meters in diameter and is thousands of years old.
Beautiful Dive Site located off the East coast of the North Island, near Tutukaka. The area is a protected marine sanctuary, so it is teeming with marine life. But, bring your wet suit, as this is cold water diving.... (Please see Poor Knights Travelogue for more dive pictures....)
Ninety Mile Beach is a beach located on the western coast of the far north of the North Island of New Zealand.
The name Ninety Mile Beach is a misnomer—it is actually 88 km (55 miles) long.
The beach stretches from just west of Kaitaia towards Cape Reinga along the Aupouri Peninsula. It begins close to the headland of Reef Point, to the west of Ahipara Bay, sweeping briefly northeast before turning northwest for the majority of its length. It ends at Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen.
Its a great place for Birdspotting and there are wild horses that roam the grassland and forests at the back of the beach.
Driving is'nt really allowed on the beach so its best to join a tour, they run from Pahia and Kaitaia and are really informative of the History, Geology and wildlife of the area.
Kauri Trees are very tall, large and supposed to be very old. The tree in the picture was supposed to be around 5000 years old and local inhabitants believe it as a god. They come in groups to the worship. There is a forest of these Kauri trees in Northland Conservation Park.
When we left from Auckland Matakohe was our first stop. We were on the mission of exploring Northern Island and our first stop was a small town. In Matakohe the most important thing is to see the Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum. There was nominal entrance fee for the entrance to get in. it took my thirty minutes to get in……no………not because it was busy. I wanted to stretch my legs first after three hours drive. The picture was taken at the time when i was stretching my legs.
Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum is in Matakohe.One of the section in Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum represents the life style of early stages in New Zealand. In this picture you could see a family and dining room. Dummies have been used to reflect that life style of eighties.
Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum is in Matakohe. Otamatea Kauri & Pioneer Museum has plenty of interesting stuff. One of the interesting stuff was that steam train engine used for transportation in early days. This train engine has now been preserved in the museum. The main thing about it is that it is in very good shape.
You would be surprised that some parts of New Zealand has sand as well. when you travel towards Cape Reinga on state highway 1f, near Te Kao there is a lake called Lake Wahakari. This lake is not very impressive but if you keep following this road you will get to the place The Bluff. It is a series of sand hills.
Along the road from Auckland there is lovely, green, undulating scenery, but with cattle (I expected sheep), some of which had had their tails cropped in childhood. I've never seen that before.
Waitangi is the site of the historic signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty House was built in 1832 as the home of the British resident James Busby. This is where the Treaty between the Maoris and the representatives from the British government was signed on 6th February 1840. The house has now been preserved as a memorial and a museum.
The Whare Runanga (traditional Maori meeting house) and marae (grassed are in front) form the basis of Maori culture and society. It is held as a symbol of tribal prestige and a monument to the tribe's notable ancestors: the apex is his head, the ridgepole his backbone, the bargeboards his arms. The interior represents his chest with the rafters being the ribs.
The meeting house was built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the signing of the treaty.
A bit of a trek through the grounds to try and find the War Canoe down by the cove at Hobson's Brach, but it is really worth it.
The largest war canoe in the world at 35m long. Called Ngatokimatawharua, it was built for the centenary of the signing of the treaty in 1940 and can carry 80 warriors. It was fashioned from two giant kauri trees and each year on New Zealand Day - the 6th February - it is launcehd for a ceremony.
The walkway back to the visitors centre from the War Canoe is very nicely laid out, with elevated pine walkways amongst the ginat punga ferns.
The Northland region of New Zealand is one of the most popular places to visit, particularly in the summer. There is a lot to see and do.
One of the highlights would be the Bay of Islands with its infamous Hole in the Rock boat trip (if you are lucky you will also see dolphins on this trip).
A little further north is Ninety Mile Beach where you can take a bus tour along the beach. Tane Mahuta - the large Kauri tree is also in this vicinity.
At the top of the North Island is Cape Reinga with its lighthouse and I suppose a cool place to go to say you've been there!
Heading back down from the top (or going up if you prefer) I recommend a drive on the Coastal Highway which will take you to a string of pretty beaches including Mangawhai, Laings Beach and Waipu.
There is strong advice in the guidebooks not to drive your car on ninety mile beach because of shifting quicksand and strong tides. Well here is one idiot who did not heed the advice. Our guide said it had only happened the previous week.
Fortunately the people got out unhurt but what a waste of a Mercedes. Bet they felt a bit of an idiot filling out their insurance forms!