Roadtrippin- Bay of Islands to the Kauri forests...
Easy now Kiddywinks!
We awake bright an early and pick up our lovely little hire car, which is a bright white Toyota. First off we head off to a place called Goat Island, not famous for goats oh no, it is infact a gorgeous marine reserve!
There are loads of rock pools on the beach and its really shallow so can snorkel and see all the fish swimming around its ace. We see Prawns and Purple Crabs and some weird Blue fish that im not sure of the name of!
After this we head further up the coast to Pakiri Beach, after a well scary run down the worst gravel roads known to man we come upon the quite crapness of the below!
Its amazing, it goes on for miles of these golden sands! We cant resist and even though the swim suits are in the car its down to our pants and into the sea whoohoo!
Back in the now rather damp car we drive north up to Pahia in the Bay of Islands where we settle into the sleepy coastal town (if you can call it that) and get ready for our boat trip round the bay tommorow. Up nice and early and with a tar like coffee in hand we get on the boat for a trip round the Islands ( Captain Cook counted 144 islands). Some of these islands are just beautiful like the Twin Lagoons below.
Some are also privately owned by some lucky bastards! One guy has a ten level holiday home with space for his helichopper! We then head out to Cape Brett and see the Hole in the Rock at Piercy Island (Pissy Island if your a bit deaf like Cath) It's quite impressive but it's too rough to sail the boat through today.
We have stop off on Okupakakpakakakekuahieeehuauhheeii Island (or something along those lines) and we get onto a part boat part submarine to go out and see the fish, its well cool and some of them are bison!
Back on dry land in the Port of Russell, oh yeah got my own Port out in NZ! It used to be the Hell Hole of the South Pacific back in the good old days of the 1800's because of all the Pirates, but now its a simply beautiful little town! (There were many jokes made about Cath being 'in' Russell here fnnarr fnnarr & also check out my bad ass pirate look)
After this we head across to the other side of the North bit to the sleepy 1/16 horse town of Omapere which has great views over the Sand Dunes and...........well great views over the Sand Dunes.
Does have really nice hotel though and there we sit on the verandah and watch the sun set into the sea. Tafe.
The next day and we're up and off again early (quite glad we've not done the whole trip in a car as think there's more pressure to pack loads in when you've got your own wheels!) Anyway we have heard about the Kauri forests on the west coast of Northland so we decide to make a few stops today to see some of these giant old trees. First stop is to see Tane Mahuta (named after the Maori god of the forest) which is the tallest living Kauri at an impressive 51 metres!! As we take the short walk through the forest we keep thinking we've spotted him but nothing quite prepares us for the sheer size of the thing when we finally get there- it is quite literally the most ginourmous living thing you have ever seen, more like a building than a tree!! To illustrate, see if you can spot Rusty in the pic below...
Next stop is to take a longer walk into the forest to see the Four sisters (a stand of four mature Kauri growing out of the same root stem) and then finally to Te Matua Ngahere 'Father of the Forest', the oldest living Kauri, which has a trunk diameter of over 5 meters and is over 2000 years old! Yes that means he was alive when Jesus was folks!!
The forest was an amazing place, very tranquil and quiet, with a sort of peacefulness about it, which seemed to come from the trees; which after all have been around for quite a while! Anyway just after he took the above pic (and as we hadn't seen anyone else for ages), Rusty decided he would get down on one knee and make our engagement official!! He had even managed to buy me a lovely New Zealand greenstone ring and everything!! I said yes of course and we're thinking of having a short engagement, so if anyone's free on May 3rd we thought we'd have a party!!!
To celebrate we carried on a little bit further down the coast and found the very unspoilt Kai Iwi lakes. The pics below are of the biggest lake, where there is a lovely little campsite under the pines and a sandy shallow shoreline which makes it the perfect place for swimming.
So after a crazy day we made it to our last roadtrip stop at the 1/32 horse town of Ruawai. Seriously when we first arrived at the hostel we were a bit scared as it was all a bit chain saw massacre (think empty old clapboard house, with a sign that says 'office next door' where we find an old dude in a wheelchair who can't really understand what we're saying!) It all turns out fine though and we make friends with the old couple who own the hostel and their giant dog!!
There isn't a huge amount of nightlife here, so we settle down in the O Bar inspired lounge for a spot of jigsaw mayhem, assisted by a little kiwi boy who arrives at about 10pm with his parents and refuses to go to bed!!
So that's about it for this enormously long entry folks. The last day of our road trip we made a stop off at the Kauri museum which was cool and had loads of beautiful furniture, a strange exhibition of polished Kauri gum and loads and loads of machines...(Russ here - Dad I am slowly turning into you as became fascinated by all the different types of machines used by old time loggers, see pic below as one part of the musem was set up like an old Saw Mill with working engines you could have spent days in here - Love Ya)
Just to show you again how big those Kauri trees are, here is Rusty pointing at a drawing on the wall of the Kauri museum which shows the diameter of the Kauri trees we saw. The outside circles represent the circumferences of the largest Kauri trees on record (which are no longer alive).
So after this it was back to Auckland for some down time before our flight to LA on saturday. We have absolutely loved NZ and all its amazing scenery and landscapes, but we're ready to shake things up a bit and try our spanish out in central america (after the delights of venice beach obv!!) Hope you are all well and good, and keep those emails/facebook messages/blog comments coming, is lovely to hear from you all. Miss you all heaps, from the soon to be mr and mrs, C&R xxxx