The Kauri Coast
Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
53Trip End May 10, 2005
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The Opononi YHA manager met us at the gate, flashlight in hand
There were just a few people there besides ourselves - a trio from Switzerland (who didn't speak much English) and an elderly couple from Adelaide, Australia.
Our primarly reason for travelling this route back towards Auckland is to see the huge kauri trees that once grew in abundance in New Zealand. Most of been cut down for lumber (used primarly in making masts for ships; there are now just a few left. We saw the largest existing kauri - 60 m tall, 13.8 m (45 feet) in girth and over 2,000 years old! (It is believed that kauri trees are some of the oldest on earth.) The habitat of the kauri is very fragile - the trees have suffered as well as many of the native birds, such as parrots. The forest was lush and dense with palms, ferns and various types of conifers. We noticed signs that request the public to destroy or report any wild ginger they see. Such plants, along with bind weed (purple morning glory) and wild honeysuckle are choking out the native vegetation.