Kauri Coast


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March 22nd 2007
Published: March 22nd 2007
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Moreton Bay FigMoreton Bay FigMoreton Bay Fig

This impressive tree had a 15 meter girth and 42 meter spread
On March 14, we left the Coromandel Peninsula (weekend getaway for Auklanders) for the Kauri Coast, named for the huge, ancient trees that once forested this section of Northland. At a museum in the middle of countryside, we saw Kauri wood said to be up to 45,000 years old due to the fact that it had been buried in the swamps and sand of the North Country. Though the Kauri forests were logged to almost extinction during the early 20th C., one portion has been preserved along this wild, sparsely populated coastline. This was where we found our most fascinating B&B to date in a rural lodge built in the 1860's with beautiful interior Kauri woodwork and period furniture. The hosts rear Romney sheep for the special qualities of their wool,which, Coleen claims, spins and weaves into clothing & houselhold items. Tony, her husband, invited us to join him as he moved the small herd from one paddock to another. And, of course, we had lamb for dinner
In NZ, trees hold a special rank. Further up the Coast, we took a sidetrip to see a special tree that Colleen had described: a Moreton Fig tree with a girth of
Bill in a Bonecarving lessonBill in a Bonecarving lessonBill in a Bonecarving lesson

On a rainy day, Bill and Carol took a bone carving lesson in Whitianga
15 meters and spread of 42 meters. Simply magestic!

The coastal road winds through spectacular forstland with few settlements. By nightfall we had found our destination: Hokianga Harbour. Here, on the northwest coast of the North Island, the Hokianga River flows into the Tasman Sea forming mountainous golden dunes across from the broad harbor. We treated ourselves to a rare restaurant meal overlooking the harbor and then arrived late at our B&B in the tine town of Opanoni. The grumpy host proved to be a retired prison guard, so we curbed our political comments over breakfast and actually, learned much about the law enforcement perspective of New Zealand (and Rugby)from our host and his highway patrol brother-in-law who was staying there as well.

Then we quickly crossed the island from west to east coast, stopping in Kawa Kawa to see the famous public toilets (Hundertwasser's Loo) by an eccentric Austrian artist who also designed the power station and a wonderful set of apartments in Vienna before he emigrated to NZ. As a lot of the painting and design we're encountering so far has been mild and conventional, the vivid colors and quirky structural elements really fed the soul!
Pendants we carvedPendants we carvedPendants we carved

Each pendant design has a meaning for the Maori people
And now, on to the Bay of Islands...



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Romney Sheep moving to a new paddockRomney Sheep moving to a new paddock
Romney Sheep moving to a new paddock

These were the sheep which are herded by whistle to move from one paddock to another every second day at our farmstay in Wellesford
Carol and Colleen in the FarmstayCarol and Colleen in the Farmstay
Carol and Colleen in the Farmstay

Our B&B hosts have a house from the 1860's (ancient by NZ standards) with gorgeous Hauri woodwork
Hokianga HarbourHokianga Harbour
Hokianga Harbour

Here on the NW Coast, the Hokianga River flows into the Tasman Sea forming mountainous golden dunes
Art Public ToiletsArt Public Toilets
Art Public Toilets

These public toilets are the work of a creative Vienna artist who emigrated to KawaKawa after designing many buildings in Vienna


22nd March 2007

Habitat build
Your blog is enticing! I wonder if Habitat builds in New Zealand. Maybe I should go there in 2009. My grandmother Jessie Bewley Parker (my full maiden name) was born in New Zealand, and the house she was born in still stands there, easily recognizable from a painting done in the 1800's. My cousin visited it about three years ago.
22nd March 2007

OK-- that's it--next time I'm coming with you two! What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing!
23rd March 2007

We love reading your tales of adventure! You two inspire us! Such beautiful scenery and so many friendly stories!

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