Tree&Treaty history, plus glowing caves

Trip Start Nov 28, 2011
Trip End Apr 09, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We hit the road and soon we found ourselves driving on the peaceful and scenic road of the Twin Coast Discovery drive. We are following this scenic road and via Hatfields Beach, Wark Worth, Wellsford, Maungaturoto, Dargaville we arrived at Trounson Kauri Park. As we have gathered a lot of information, we also found out about the Department of Conservation (DOC) organization. This organization or department are maintaining all the national parks, including the campsites and walking- and biking tracks in Kiwi land (Kiwi – the national animal of New Zealand and often used as a nickname for the people of New Zealand).

Trounson Kauri Park is such a DOC site including a camping area. Therefore we chose this site and paid our donation for the first camp night in New Zealand. As we arrived late, we quickly put on the tent and organized ourselves a dinner. It is going to be a cold and wet night!

The next day the sun was shining and our tent was dry, hurry hurry, quick quick we rapped in our tent. A lovely little bushwalk was nearby and before we knew it, we were "lost" in time and beautiful nature. DOC provides sometimes also the information about the bushes, plants, trees and animals which are living in that specific area. So we encountered our first big tree called “Kauri”. Kauri trees are immense and therefore “hot” for the lumbering industry. In the past, there has been a lot of chopping of these majestic trees and therefore, they are now protecting these giants from extinction. Returned to our campsite, we had our coffee and of we went, onwards with our Scenic drive. During our drive to Waitangi, we passed the real Giants amongst the giants. The lord and the father of Forest, as the Maori call these Kauris. These two trees are world famous because of its size. One is the tallest Kauri, the other one the biggest. To understand these sizes, you have to study the photos and try to imagine yourself next to them. Yes, you are small and little!!

On we went and without further delays we arrived at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It was here, that the independence was signed of New Zealand between the Maori and the British Throne. Very impressive! By signing the document with only three articles (1. The parties; 2. The land; 3. The rights) independence was a fact, but with only one big but…. The translation from the English into the local Maori language – or the other way around – there seems to be a “misinterpretation”. Well until now, some discussions/matters need to be dealt with care.

In Waitangi we got recommended the Olive Grove camp site. Olive Grove Campsite offers a magnificent spot for campers including some free lemons/oranges as well for a little payment some free range eggs and homemade Manuka honey. By reaching Waitangi, we reached our most northern spot in New Zealand. From there on, we would go south, more south until we would reach Wellington. But that will be in 10 days or so.

After some heavy rainfall during the night, sunshine has come and dried our tent quickly. We made a delicious breakfast with all the fresh ingredients until we were stuffed. Time to get back on the road. South is the direction and during our drive, we passed by at Kawiti. Kawiti is a small town with no importance but does have a beautiful glow worm cave with a beautiful walk. We got to know everything about the glow worms. How their circle of live is (answer: they are feeding for 9 month – “glowing period”- and then they maid and die), why are they glowing (answer: to attract food), how do they catch their food ( answer: with almost invisible, small and sticky dreads) – they eat mosquitos and sandflies!! We love them especially because of their diet. It is really impressive to see them from a small distance and within a small group of tourists (besides us, there is only one other couple from Canada). Later on, our local guide told us that last year, Bill Gates flew in with his family to see these worms as well. What glow worms can do! It was an absolute unique experience and we definitively recommend this place to other people who would like to see glow worms in their natural habitat, but not overrun by tourists.

Time to continue and we booked ourselves in at the household of the Ways. Some more Settlers and…. return of the Kings! But this time, it was Inge who defended the honour of the Way family! Congrats Inge! such a good time we had, and such a pity we have to leave once more. Hopefully we'll see you back soon, in NL or elsewhere!
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