East to West NZ
Trip Start Jun 11, 2007
94Trip End Ongoing
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We packed up and headed off late and went to the Treaty house at Waitangi (near Paihia). I was really disappointed as I really wanted to see the house. It was more of an exhibition centre for the Treaty information. The Treaty stuff was okay and certainly important and interesting in it's own right but distracted from the house itself. The rest of the grounds and displays were good though.
That done we finally headed West down SH.12, unfortunately the day wasn't going to get any better very soon. The map showed that there was some hot springs at Ngawha which (according to the map) was just before a prison. We got to the road where the prison was and thought we'd either missed the springs or it was down the same road. So off we went down the road which has staff (or more likely inmates) in orange boiler suits cutting the grass verges. Needless to say when we got to the end of the road, No springs, just the prison. We did think about going in to randomly visit someone, but got scared. We found the springs on the next road down from the prison. Damn map people!
We trundled off down the road to the springs which, when we eventually got there were (yes, you got it) closed! We got back onto SH.12 and continued, in sullen silence, West.
At Kaikohe, there is a pioneer village, it's a collection of various old buildings that have been picked up and moved to this site and has loads of history, stories and memorabilia. I think we would normally have quite liked it, but we didn't even bother to go in as we were still feeling sorry for ourselves and couldn't be bothered. How bad is that!
We were just saying that we need to shake this mood off, when Robert saw a brown tourist sign for "Wairere Boulders" and turns up the road to it. We didn't know what it was and it was 13km from the main highway! We expected it to be closed or crap!
When we pulled up into the car park we saw some big rocks in the area and thought what the heck! We needed food and there was some picnic tables. As I was grabbing the food a slightly crazy looking woman came over, she had a cowboy hat on and a plait in the hair either side of her face, but she was smiling and friendly and told us to go eat then she'd tell us what the place was about. We ate.
In the hut at the bottom of the car park is a map showing a walk around the property and an honesty box for the entry fee of $10 each. As we were sticking the $20 in the slot our hostess appeared and spent an enthusiastic 10 to 15 mins telling us that the walk took you over, under and through a "river" of huge boulders. These are special as they have these grooves over them that some geologists say aren't created naturally. What they think happened is that Leaves from the Kauri trees, that once covered the area but have been felled extensively, rested on the boulders and rainwater drew an acid from the leaves which ran down the surface and burnt the grooves in.
We did the walk which should take an hour at a really slow walking pace. We were that enthralled and took that may photo's that we took an hour and half. It was really beautiful and really relaxing. Or crap mood of the day finally lifted. GO HERE, it is so nice.
As it was now getting a little late we needed to find a camp for the night. There are no Top 10 sites around here so we head in to Rawene. We chose here as there are a couple thing to see here in the morning. The site (I forgot the name, but is the only one here) is really nice. The owner is Heather, she's as friendly and helpful as can be. I spend some time writing the blog in Word, then we had a late dinner (warmed up curry from the other night, mmmm) then Robert proceeded to increase his winning streak against me at Blackjack to 19-9. Will his glee never end!!!