Saturday, March 31, 2018

Big Trees Of The Kauri Coast

New Zealand's Kauri trees rival the sequoias of California at least in girth if not in height. Their habitat is dense bush, unlike the open montane forests of California. In Kauri country, one can rarely see beyond the low canopy, and when you come suddenly upon one of the big trees, something that is 5-7m in diameter, it is an astounding experience. They are truly lords of the forest. On this day we visited old friend Tane Mahuta, the greatest of surviving Kauris, but also several others in the Waipoua Forest.
Only 2% of the 19th century Kauris have survived the blades
and sawmills, and NZ is doing what it can to ensure these last
2% survive and thrive

You go into Kauri country, you wash and disinfect your boots,
coming and going, and stay away from the Kauris' shallow
roots, to avoid spreading Kauri die-back disease

Tane Mahuta, the largest of the survivors, about
which I am sure I have blogged before

Rising above the canopy

Now walking through the Waipoua Forest,
gawking at ever more Kauris, none as huge as
Tane Mahuta, but huge enough...

Clothes pin tree

General Grant Tree; wait, no...

The Yakas tree, not one of the hugest examples, but special 

Because DOC has constructed the boardwalk for Yakas so that you
can actually touch the tree...

Tree huggers



Moving on

The Four Sisters

And others

And finally, Te Matua Ngahere, 2nd largest of
the survivors

Big Dunes And Big Beaches: Waimamaku Track

The ferry from Kohukohu began our homestretch, turning south toward an Auckland appointment with Air New Zealand and a return to the States. Past Rawene and the Kuoto Boulders, we drove the south side of Hokianga harbor/estuary. The entry to the harbor consists of immense dunes and, beyond them, interesting beaches. We had time for a look, but no more.


Not as immense as Namibia, but pretty immense

We drove to an overlook and did a bit of the walk; here, looking

The harbor/estuary; also immense

Sandstone...petrified dunes

Entry to the harbor

Coast, beaches on the north side

And just below us on the south side

To explore next time

Friday, March 30, 2018

Rooby Rides Again

We had planned on savage-camping in Omahuta forest but could find no place level enough off the road. And so we drove on in the direction of Kohukohu, a hamlet whose description in Lonesome World was characteristically inviting and misleading. This brought us, 3k later, to the vast Hokianga Harbor/estuary. The road south does not go ever on from here. But, ever since Russell we had been thinking we'd like to do another ferry, if only to hear again our SatNav's instructions. We are using our original 2009 Tom Tom ("Tom")--the 2014 NZ maps are still useable and why update anything from NZ?--but with the voice of Darth Vader. We were finally getting tired of "turn left, to the Dark Side" and "bear right, it is the Way of the Sith" and "don't make me destroy you"...until we boarded the ferry at Russell. There, we heard something new and different that we had to hear again. And so we did, at Kohukohu, Lord Vader telling us: "board the ferry; bring me all the passengers; I want them alive." Totally worth the price of the crossing to Rawene.
We spent the night across from the ferry car-park; the ferry runs
only from 7AM to 8PM

Thus, the last to board

Farewell, Kohukohu

Helpful map, showing our crossing; about the same distance as the

Somewhat bigger picture

Hello, Rawene

Cleared for landing


Back on terra firma, we thought we'd stop by the Hokianga
harbor Kouto Boulders, which we'd seen in 2014; sort of like
the Moeraki Boulders on South Island

Excellent signage

Unfortunately, it was high tide

Alas, I never took Seamanship 101

But the signage was really good

On to Opononi