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Published: October 31st 2013
Today, it seems, that New Zealand was trying to blow me back to Australia.... and what better place to be for it then at the northern most tip, Cape Reinga. Think exposed, cliff faces, two seas colliding, white frothy peaks formed just out from rocky headlands, a lighthouse built in the 1800's, and me.
The cape has significant traditional heritage and is based around the spirits of the local people wanting to rejoin their lost ancestors from when they came to this island. It is also a scientific research area and a sanctuary for a number of fauna. The bird life abounds throughout New Zealand I have noticed, but here on the cape it seems even more so.
The long trip back down the cape was punctuated by a few stops for "forced" photo opportunities (not being allowed to smoke in the campervan has it's benefits), before deciding to hit that amazing button again.... Use Alternate Route.
Cutting around the Hokianga Harbor and back on to unsealed roads again (I think they are mainly logging roads), brought me out on to State Highway 12. Unlike Australia where highways tend to be flat,
straight and rather boring, this quickly became another of those must-see routes to drive. Weaving through open pastures before running alongside the harbor and finally winding through Kauri forests it is without a doubt one of the most scenic trips I've been down. On the GPS it looks more like a 2 year old's scribble because the road cuts back on itself so often due to the mountainous terrain, and with a light drizzle setting in everything became magical.
So what's the colour green?? In my mind there were about 4, maybe 5 shades of green. Then SH12 happened. From almost golden to the deepest emerald and all in between is on display in a 30km stretch through the Waipoua Forest, and with the rain it only made them all stand out a little more. Cameras are a poor man's equivilent and can never truly capture the endless depths of nature.
Waipoua Forest is also home to some of the mightiest examples of the Kauri Tree. Taking another quick break from the driving gave me an opportunity to see one of them up close. Dating back hundreds of years (maybe even thousands) the example I saw
was only a medium size.... I say that with tongue in cheek a little as it's trunk had a 13.8m girth and it dwarfed everything else around it. But in truth.... it was only medium sized as down the road was the 7th largest Kauri Tree that was known and it was nearly 15m in girth. Let's let that sink in.... 7th largest..... 15m around..... anyone's manhood feeling incompetent yet??
With the laptop battery empty (it's been used as a power source to charge the ipad and the camera - I know... yuppie tourist) I've now checked in to a holiday park nestled in the Kauri forest near Dargaville to recharge everything and get all this uploaded. The rain seems to be becoming persistent but it's not dampening spirits.
Parting words of wisdom..... New Zealand is made to be explored.... and a campervan seems to be a fantastic option!!
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