Giant Kauri Trees

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
Trip End May 09, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, February 2, 2008

We left our Opononi campground and had breakfast at one of the lookouts overlooking the mouth of the Hokianga Harbour.  There was a nice lush green area on one part of the bay and a huge sand dune on the other! 

We kept driving southbound to Waipoua Forest.  According to our LP guidebook, the Waipoua Forest is the largest area of Kauri forests in Northern NZ.   Not many Kauri trees are left after an extensive period of milling.   The walk through the forested areas was really nice - lots of smaller Kauri trees and other indigenous plants everywhere.  The first featured Kauri tree we saw was Tane Mahuta, 'God of the Forest,' and the oldest known living Kauri - estimated at 2000 years old.   This tree had a trunk height of 17.68m and girth of 13.77m, which was pretty darn impressive.  Then we drove to another trailhead, and walked past the '4 sisters', 4 Kauri Trees growing closely together in a grove, and then the most impressive Kauri, Te Matua Ngahere, "Father of the Forest".  This Kauri seemed even more impressive than the 'God of the Forest' as the trunk girth was so huge!    It was shorter at 10.21m, but the trunk girth was 16.41m!   It was an incredible sight.  Compared to the Redwood trees in northern California, which are very very tall, these trees were short, but massively wide, like a fortress.

After admiring the trees for awhile, we had to make some tracks (running out of time in NZ!) and kept heading southbound. We decided to make it to the Goat Island reserve for the night.  The only unpleasant thing along the way (just for Shari) was the narrow, windy dirt and gravel road between Wellsford and Pakiri.  The map said the road was paved!!   Argh!  Some not so comfortable moments driving around a curve and wondering if another car would come speeding around from the opposite direction.  Anyway, we made it to Goat Island Reserve fine, and ended up spending the night at the Goat Island campground.   It had a really nice view overlooking part of Goat Island, with free use of their BBQs.  Now we really wished we found a grocery store to buy some meat-we encountered no real grocery store along the way and had only some vegetables and soup to eat for the night.  However, upon hearing our desire for some meat for the grill, the woman that ran the front desk was nice enough to sell us a couple of her own steaks!  It was so nice of her!  We ended up having a pretty tasty meal of steak, soup, grilled vegetables and even a beer for Frank.  What a nice way to end the day.
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