Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gallivanting around the North Part 1

I've had a big no-blogging holiday but that doesn't mean I haven't had anything to blog about.  Far from it.  I have been acting as tourist guide to fellow blogger, GB.  That makes it sound like a chore.  It was definitely not that.  It was a lot of fun actually. A wonderful holiday.

When we set out last Friday morning I thought it was a shame that the north is gripped by drought, that the countryside that is usually so lush and green is now arid and brown.  But we still found beauty wherever we looked.

Usually when I go tripping around the north I go up the east coast and come back down the west coast and we turned left out of my driveway intending to go that way.  But we'd only gone a couple of kms up the road and GB remembered that he had indeed been up that road when he was here last so we doubled back and took another back road across to the west coast (one I hadn't been on before - and won't be tempted to use again in a hurry!)

The dry hills of the back road to the west coast

Tokatoka popping its head up just south of Dargaville.  It’s the plug of an ancient volcano. The material around the plug has eroded over time, leaving only the hardened lava core.

We took a quick detour out to Bayley's Beach to visit a west coast beach before heading for the Waipoua Forest.  Unfortunately we arrived on the heels of a bus load of noisy tourists and had to wait our turn to get near Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest, New Zealand's largest known living kauri tree.  A bonus was the tourists had a maori guide who was singing a salute to the mighty tree as we entered the forest and his magnificent voice was a treat to hear.  The acoustics of the forest were as perfect as any theatre.

Tane Mahuta is estimated to be between 1250 and 2500 years old.  You can almost feel it's strength and ancient presence, and its overwhelming size makes visitors look like dwarfs - it has a girth of 13.77 m (45 ft) and is 51.2m (167 feet) high.

 Tourists gather in front of Tane Mahuta

According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.  Tane was the child that tore his parent’s parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have today.  All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children.

We lingered a fair while in the forest, enjoying a coolness of a mountain stream. 

and the lush growth:

GB was a terrific companion for many reasons.  And I discovered he makes a great silhouette!

The weather when we reached Omapera was overcast with the promise of much needed rain.  Which eventually came on Sunday.  Not enough to break the drought but a welcome relief all the same. 


Time was getting on a bit by the time we got to the Wairere Boulders - I will post about them tomorrow.  Adrian, we thought of you.  You would have loved this place!!


  1. First of all, this maybe the first time I've encountered the word "gallivanting" in print. I've certainly heard it often enough.

    Thanks for taking us along on the tour. The photos were amazing. Coming to visit your blog is like going on vacation.

  2. Hi Pauline! I came over from GB's site, to see if you had posted anything yet about your trip...and what a treat to find that you had!!! ;^)
    No wonder the twelve days went flying by!!! (I think that if it had been 12 months, with all of this ancient beauty, it would have gone just as fast!) ;^)
    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing, and I'm very glad that you had such a great time.

  3. Thanks so much, Pauline, for being a wonderful guide. It's been memorable (for many reasons - some involving Dora
    of course!) and very enjoyable.

  4. Hi Pauline, I came over here from GB's blog too... Interesting pictures and beautiful landscape!

  5. Shouldn't really read your blog, New Zealand is one of the few places I regret never going to. Still second hand is better than not at all.


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