NZ Day 22 & 23
Well, as per usual, what we decide as our destination at night, invariably gets changed in the morning.......well I am a woman & I am allowed to change my mind. Colin (the park owner) suggested that we head up the west coast straight away as the weather would probably turn foul/rain etc by Wed night or Thursday, making it a bit unpleasant. So, he suggested the Kauri Coast Park where you can do night walks through the forest etc. It would have been a big day driving from Port Waikato up to there (considering the speed we travel at), so instead we stayed at a gorgeous little park at Matakohe- where the Kauri Museum is.
But first things first. Colin & his wife also advised that to drive through Auckland, stay on Highway 1 (we had planned that bit), but because you are on a 3 or 4 lane motorway at times, to stick to the 2nd closest lane to the middle of the road & hopefully avoid been pushed off into a turn out lane. So, as Ray’s hip was still hurting, I got to drive through Auckland. Stuff me!!! Driving thru Adelaide is like
driving in Renmark compared to this city. We had deliberately headed off when the peak hour would be well & truly over, but man there was still some traffic about. I must say that it was relatively simple logistically, as the road/motorway is very well sign posted (unlike the rural areas in the south). The navigator even managed to get us through unscathed!! I am training him well. We had to go over a huge bridge- reminded me of Sydney Harbour Bridge- it was flippin’ big. In my peripheral vision I caught sight of the tallest building- Sky Tower, but I wasn’t game to take my eyes off the road for an instant.....was challenging enough trying to look at the passenger mirrors without trying to look at anything else! There was a few exciting moments though....for the first time we got to overtake other traffic!!! Woohoo to us!! In fact, we nearly have to use 2 hands to count the number of vehicles we have overtaken. North of Auckland is a new motor way which is fantastic- built to assist with the city’s traffic heading north for public holidays etc. Very impressed, although it is a toll road & you
have to pay online- haven’t worked that one out yet.
So we stopped at a town & did a bit of grocery shopping & then onward & upward. Our tourism radio had advised that the Kauri museum was coming up & that it was the only museum they recommended on either island, so we stopped for a bo-peep. Absolutely unbelievable! It was fantastic. They had furniture- a lot of it antique. There were more rooms than you could point a stick at & each one had a different theme. The Kauri that has been recovered from the swamps has been carbon dated to over 3,000 years old!!! Amazing. What I didn’t know was that the gum or resin is very valuable & that was a major industry many years ago. When a limb broke off, the gum would ‘bleed’ & would harden & be harvested.....by putting on a pair of spikes & climbing way up there......rather a dangerous job. They have a huge collection of the gum, including the largest piece known. There are also carvings & jewellery etc. Some of the gum has insects caught in it that are very old. There was one room with working (old) machinery
in it, showing how the kauri was logged & cut over 100 years ago......not for the faint hearted some of it. They had an old house made of Kauri that was a boarding house originally (all inside the museum). We even found a ‘Garrett Steam Engine’ & yep I’ve got photos to prove it! There was a butter churn (mad of Kauri) that made 2,527 kgs per load!!! No shit! It was enormous! The rooms just went on & on. Several of them were made up like ‘the kitchen’, ‘parent’s room’, children’s room etc. In them were some very old patchwork quilts- a crazy quilt was circa 1880 – 1910. Another was made as the family travelled to NZ on a ship in 1863, and was to be a gift for a hospital so the sick could read the scriptures embroidered into it & gain solace. Unfortunately it was too heavy for hospital use. It was cross-stitched, knitted & crocheted. The time taken to complete the quilt is unknown, but the maker (Mrs Anne Rogers) died in 1892, so you work it out. I could go on & on- it was fantastic & as usual gets no govt funding or
anything- just runs on the entrance money, donations & sales from the shop. Absolutely worth a visit.
Our accommodation was literally 100m up the road overlooking a gorgeous little inlet. A very quick set up & then a forced march across a paddock & down to the water to get some sunset photos...not much cloud to assist, but it was very pretty.
Next morning (we had changed our minds again overnight) we headed for the Kauri forests to see both the biggest Kauri....Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest) - has a girth of 16.41m, total height of 29.9m & a trunk height of 10.21m.......I actually looked quite slim standing next to him! And also the tallest Kauri known- Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), who stands at a mere trunk height of 17.7m, total height of 51.5m & girth of 13.8m (again I looked quite slim)........it is thought that this magnificent tree may have sprung from seed over 2,000 years ago. Unbelievable.........probably outlive us me thinks. The road through the forest is VERY windy, but because the forest literally grows to the edge (& over) the road, you can’t see how steep it is, but it certainly had more
hairpin bends in 16kms than I could count....speed- oh probably snail’s pace! At least we were at snail’s pace- got to wondering if we weren’t going backwards at times. But at least I didn’t dissolve in tears, which is good.
Then onto Rowena & onto a ferry (when I rang to ask how much it would be to take the motor home on it, she said ‘how many axles do you have?’ I got the giggles & asked her to repeat the question- yep- your cost depended on how many axles you had....gold! So, for $30 for the mh & $2 each for us, off we set across the top of the inlet- those people at the Interislander ferry could learn something from these people....it was a lovely smooth sailing- only took 15-20 minutes & we never had to take drugs....vunderbar!
Then north east again...more bloody mountains & the most ‘uneven’ (interpret rough) road we have been on so far. Having said that, it was still better than a lot of roads in Australia. Travelled for a bit over an hour to a little town called Ahipara- it is at the beginning of the 90 mile beach. We walked over
to the beach last night, but no great sunset shots to be had unfortunately- very overcast, although better than tonight as its....wait for it.....raining!! We had specifically come here as the lady assured us they had the internet provided we needed (you only need to use a different password she assured me), but that wasn’t the case....which we found out AFTER we had paid....grrrrrrrr. I had missed ‘talking’ to Josh on Sunday night & really wanted to try again. Unfortunately the disappointment was so bad, that it bought on a very unpleasant menopause evening.
It cost $4 per wash & $4 per dryer (that is worth crying about isn’t it?), the light didn’t work in the laundry (that is worth crying about isn’t it?), there was only one dryer & it was being used (that is worth crying about isn’t it?), I lost a sock (that is worth crying about isn’t it?)....but I did find that again.......anyhow, I think you get the picture. After a good howl & poor Raymond not sure whether to try & console me, or make a run for it, I eventually managed to stop (no mean feat I can tell you) & was then so
exhausted I had to go to bed early, where I promptly fell straight to sleep for a couple of hours & then spent a large portion of the night awake throwing off the quilt....yep more menopausal hot flush moments.......it really is crap this menopause & no, I don’t want to hear from anyone who ‘sailed’ through it.......I am in a sinking boat. Ahhh well, tomorrows another day!
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