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Published: March 22nd 2007
Kaleidoscope Studio in KeriKeri
These kaleidoscopes stay fixed above flower petals that swirl in a tub in the creator's garden studio
After some cloudy days on winding, narrow roads, we rejoiced to settle into our second timeshare week, this one at Paihia, "the gateway" to the lovely northern coastal area noted for sparkling sea and deserted islands. Various Kiwis have warned us that Paihia is "touristy." Well, it is, by NZ standards. But New Zealanders just don't know how to truly junk up the natural world with crass commercialism. This has proven to be a wonderful base for day trips, and with a full, spiffy kitchen, we are back to savoring Bill's cooking! To prepare us for that, we drove a short distance to Kerikeri to a farmers' market, a large, festive affair not unlike our favorite outdoor market in Seattle. In addition to lots of locally-grown produce, we came home with some local wine, fresh eggs, and fresh tuna! It was marvelous! ("Brilliant!" the Kiwis would say.)
That trip led us to another example of Kiwi ingenuity. In the rolling countryside outside Kerikeri, we came across a tiny kaleidoscope studio that dazzled us both. A Kiwi couple are devoting themselves to a marvelous mix of art and science by devising innovations on the conventional kaleidoscope. Their most fascinating (and
Hole in the Rock
One of the highlights of our boat trip in the Bay of Islands is this structure created by the sea
expensive) scopes use a complex system of homemade mirrors to focus on objects from nature: soap bubbles, feathers, or flower pedals slowly swirling in an outdoor tub.
The next day dawned with a percing blue sky--perfect for the boat trip we had planned. Just a few minutes outside the port, the boat was surrounded by dozens of bottle-nosed dolphins that leaped high into the air and played in groups for a long time. Some comedians! We picnicked on the beach of an undeveloped island, where Bill got in some snorkling while Carol combed the beach for shells. Six hours later we were back in Paihia, salty and slimy from sunscreen--but deeply satisfied.
Yesterday we headed to Cape Reigna, the northernmost point of the country, where the Tasman Sea (which is deep green) flows against the deep blue Pacific. It's the spot where the Maori believe all spirits go at the time of death, so is "tapu" or sacred and deeply respected. Getting to the cape requires a long, arduous drive, partly on "unsealed" roads, and our rental car would be prohibited on the beach. So we went by tourist bus, which proved to be delightful. The view from
Dolphins at play
Some of 30 bottle nose dolphins we came across on our boat trip
the rocky point of the Cape is breathtaking, and we loved the nearby dunes, where Bill made a run on a boogy board. Then, because it was low tide, the bus drove for about an hour along the deserted cilica beach of the Tasman. The coach driver was quite the entertainer and regaled us with Kiwi humour. By the time the bus returned to Paihia, he had the 25 of us, mostly Europeans with 5 Japanese, and we two Americans) singing and joking together.
Tomorrow we leave Northland, taking two days to drive the length of the North Island for some time at the ecological reserve, Kapiti Island, and then to Wellington.
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