Published: November 17th 2006November 11th 2006
Maori in traditional dress. They sing in a house where the signing of the famous Treaty of Waitangi was debated over. Seen to be a compromise over the ownership of land between Maori and new British Settlers, it was finally legitimized in 1840.
Kia Ora -
Hello all, sorry it has been so long since I wrote last but finals at University weren't terribly exciting. However, I did finish a few weeks ago and have since traveled with Isabelle to the region above Auckland labeled the 'Northland'.
We spent 10 days exploring, first traveling up the end coast of the peninsula and then back down the west. Orewa was our first stop where we camped for 2 nights in a tent where both our heads and feet touched each side. So I'll say we fit rather 'comfortably'.
From this location we explored a couple islands. First Tiritiri Matanga where many near-extinct birds live and the island was designated a sanctuary back in the 70's. Then Kawau Island which holds some historical significance with an old copper mill and famous mansion built back in the mid 1800's by some British dude. It is now a museum.
All the towns we visited were rather small with not too much going on. For fun, Isa and I attempted drumming with a local group in Orewa that gets together alongside the beach every other night. Our beats may not have sounded all that great but
the picture and Isa, say it all...
we looked impressive :)
Further north on the east coast we visited Paihia where we went sailing in search of dolphins and hiked to beautiful Haruru Falls as the pictures show below. Being geography majors :), we made sure to experience the cultural attractions by watching a play put on my Mauri’s which described a bit of their history and heritage.
So, Isa and I finally decided we love New Zealand based on one spot, Matai Bay. The picture below may be beautiful but trust me, it doesn’t do it justice. I can only imagine how incredible it would be to first to discover such a bay. Although, it feels as though have because there is not a single town nearby. Because of this, Matai Bay is barely mentioned in travel books and therefore has very few visitors.
From here we made our way up to Cape Reigna staying the night in Pukenui with a farmer whose dog liked me the first day but reconsidered his decision the next day and bit me right in the knee, of all places! hah, the wound wasn't bad...you should have seen the dog...just kidding, I fled.
Wounds and burns
I'm enjoying the water after a 5km hike to reach the falls.
later, we made it to the very northern tip of new Zealand where the wind was so strong it would blow your legs out from under you if you didn't fight it and hold on to someone else. The massive sand dunes which drop into the rough blue sea were breathtaking against the burnt red soil and green green farmland which surround them.
We saw a bit of bad weather on the west coast heading back to Auckland. I made the bad decision to step out for some fresh air when we drove our car onto a ferry to get across to Rawene, and got a mouthful of fresh sea water. But the drive through the forests on the west coast is magical, unless of course you get carsick from curvy roads (I kept gasping at the amazing scenery as Isa kept needing me to pull the car over).
We stopped in the forest to see Tane Mahuta, the largest Kauri tree in New Zealand, before making our way to Auckland and the AFI concert which I dragged Isa too but she took to them well, probably because I had forced some of their songs into her head
by playing them so often during the car ride.
I have been back in Hamilton for about 5 days preparing my trip to the South Island, which begins tomorrow. I hope you all stay tuned for the adventures that await me down there.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
There are more photos below