Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Trip to Northland

We had a nice winter break last week and traveled to the top of the North Island, New Zealand, to see the sights.  We visited the Waipu Caves in Bream Bay, Whangarei.  The caves are limestone and carry on for a long way. We didn't have the right footwear or a torch to see how far.

The caves have stalactites and stalagmites in them and gloworms further on.  There is a little river running along the bottom.

Above ground is a Totara forest which seems to grow out of the rocks.  A very quiet peaceful place the day we were there.  

Next on our list of 'must see places' was the Waipoua Forest.  This forest is home to the largest Kauri trees in the world.  A short walk through the native vegetation including Rimu and Kauri took us to the 'four sisters', which are a group of four tall elegant Kauri trees growing close together.  They date back to the early 1500's so are 500+ years old.  

Then we visited 'Tane Mahuta' the Lord of the Forest and the largest Kauri tree at 51.5m high and with a girth of 14m.  He was an awesome sight and quite took your breath away. He is over 2000 years old - its hard to comprehend something living that long.  There was a hush amongst the people as they looked at him.  A very memorable experience.

We traveled up to the top of the North Island and had a look around the Cape Reinga lighthouse.  This was built in 1941.

This is where the 2 seas meet.  The Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. You can see them pushing into each other as they come around the top of the island.  A beautiful day when we were there but I can imagine what it's like when the weather is rough. 

Then on to Spirits Bay, an isolated bay at the northern tip of the North Island.  True to its name it was a very spiritual feeling place and apparently spirits have been seen to gather and walk down the beach - then disappear. 

The beach is made up of crushed polished shells and is home to plenty of bird life. 

So much more to see and do up here.  I will have to come back for the walks and waterfalls and beaches I missed.

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