Departing Souls and Ancient Trees - Cape Reinga/Waipoua Forest, New Zealand

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August 26th 2016
Published: August 3rd 2016
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Heading north from the Bay of Islands I made it to Cape Reinga which is the northern most point in New Zealand and the meeting point of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. The point is also one of the most important sites in Maori culture. The Maori believe that souls bound for the afterlife travel north through the islands and depart this world for the next at the tip of the Cape. The drive up here was another spectacular one with winding curves flanked by million dollar ocean views and lush green rolling hillsides.

The weather here in the Northlands has been perfect. Blue skies and sunshine all around. People have told me to expect showers, but luckily I haven't come across any. As the days go on in my little car I am becoming more and more convinced that I made the right decision by getting my own transport rather than a bus tour. Yes I am all alone, but I can travel at my own pace and choose where and when I want to go somewhere. Driving and listening to tunes (I was able to score a cassette tape/iPod adapter) also gives me a chance to reflect on the places I've been and places I want to go. Lots of thinking getting done on the road. Below is the point that is sacred in Maori culture.

Now beginning my descent south my next stop was the Waipoua Forest which is home to the ancient and massive Kauri trees some thought to be over 2,000 years old. The North Island was once covered in forest and thousands of these massive trees were sprouting to the skies. Then the Europeans came and you know what happens next. Now the Kauri forests are reduced to only small pockets. I went on some magnificent hikes through the sub-tropical rainforests on the Island's interior. New Zealand is totally set up for outdoor activities with a lage amount of taxpayer monies going towards preservation and the conservation efforts of the National Park System. Here is Tane Mahuta, or "Lord of the Forest". He is the largest surviving Kauri tree on the planet.

I've continued to set up shop for the night in little beach towns on the west coast of the island. The great thing about New Zealand is that the Ocean is never a far drive away. Everything is so close together here which is a far cry from some of the 15+ hour bus trips I've been on in South America. Sleeping next to the Tasman Sea has also afforded me some really nice sunsets. For now I make my way South continuing to explore the pretty scenery, less traveled roads, and meeting the friendly people that call this special place home.

Additional photos below
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Tasman and Pacific collide

My first Car Ferry!

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