We left the Bay of Islands and headed to the west coast of Northland. The roads were very quiet, and the area seemed to be less prosperous. We saw the amazing sand dunes across from Omapere. They were enormous! My photos just couldn’t show the scale of them. Much bigger than the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes!
Te Matua Ngahere sign
Then we headed south into the Kauri Forest. Kauri are a native tree, that have been in New Zealand for thousands of years. They are renowned for the quality of their wood, their gum (amber), and their size. We walked to the 2nd largest Kauri, it has a circumference of 16.41m. It was enormous! Though not as high as some of the other kauri we saw.
Later we visited the Kauri museum at Matakohe. This was an excellent museum that explained the history of kauri, their exploitation and their preservation. Well worth a visit.
We spent the afternoon on a very powerful catamaran, with about 100 other people, exploring the Bay of Islands properly.
And yes, within 5 minutes we came across a family pod of about 25 bottlenose dolphins, including a four month old baby dolphin with its mum. It was as magical as it sounds. The dolphins were quite happy to swim and play around the boat for ages. Eventually we had to leave them, the dolphins themselves would have stayed by the boat for a lot longer.
Hole in the Rock
The Bay of Islands is just stunningly beautiful. Especially as the weather was perfect. Hundreds of rocky outcrop Islands of all sizes. The boat stopped for an hour at one of the bigger islands – Urupukapuka, and we scrambled up a hill to get the most fantastic views of Otehei Bay. The Bay was named by Captain Cook.
And yes very impressively this large boat did go through the Hole in the Rock. It took the skipper a while to be sure that the boat was lined up properly and sea conditions were okay. There were only a few feet spare on each side and quite a few rocky outcrops. But for quite a contrived manoeuvre it was surprisingly awesome.
Overall a lovely, lovely day.
Hole in the Rock
Heading back to Russell
During our last tour of New Zealand we hardly saw any waterfalls apart from the ones in Milford Sound. We sure are making up for it this trip.
So far we’ve seen three really impressive ones – Whangarai Falls, Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri, and Haruru Falls near Paihia.
We’ve been pretty lucky for viewing as we are touring just after the remnants of Cyclone Debbie passed through. This has badly affected some areas in New Zealand, but has filled the rivers up.
It would be pretty hard to pick a favourite waterfall so far. All are quite different and appeal in different ways.
Click on any of the smaller photos for a bigger view.
Anne here . . .
So I was awake at 5.30am (touch of jet lag?). But watching the sunrise; listening to the early morning birds (Tui?); and having the background sound of waves gently breaking on the beach from the apartment’s veranda was just magical.
Truly one of life’s golden, memorable moments.
Okay, so our holiday got slightly put on hold for a day and a half. But there was also widespread flooding and general chaos so our thoughts are with the local inhabitants who were affected more than us.
Whangarei Town Basin
The photo here is Whangarei Town Basin in the rain. We coped by having coffee and cake. It’s a hard life being on holiday. Lol.
The up side of the rain was that Whangarei waterfall (at the top of this post) was totally spectacular. It’s right on the edge of the town and literally two minutes walk from the car park. But it is one of the most dramatic waterfalls I have ever seen. I was amazed and slightly mesmerised by it.