After throwing the rest of our stuff onto the van, Jane, Marc and I took off for Paihia. Kevin; a close friend of Jane’s had invited us to spend a few days at his summer retreat. We actually took our time driving up as Jane wanted to show us Tutukaka; where her future (if she wins the drawing) bach might be. Tutukaka is also where she used to take her kids when they were younger. Nice bay there.
The next day, we took off for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Known as the birthplace of New Zealand, this is where the treaty with the tribes was written and signed by them. They wrote two, one in English and one in Maori. There has been controversy ever since. The grounds also hold a Maori meetinghouse/ Te Whare Runanga and a canoe house/ Whare Waka. Kauri trees provided the wood for all.
We continued across the grounds to the track for Haruru Falls. They call it the Mangrove Walk and it was really neat to walk the boards above the muddy, swampy ground and see all the roots sticking up and crab holes scattered about. The falls themselves weren’t that spectacular, but the walk was a good hour and a half each way. It was exercise to make you feel good.
That evening, I may have forgotten my camera, but I’ll never forget that dinner. We took the ferry over from Paihia to Russell and went for dinner at The Duke of Marlborough Motel. Russell once had a reputation for lawlessness much like North Carolina’s coast , and the Motel itself hails from that time. There was nothing old about our dinners though. I was urged to try the pheasant. It was the most wonderfully succulent bird. We shared round the table. The fish was awesome and the Duchess salad was heavenly. Upon returning on the last ferry of the night with a raucous bunch celebrating a double birthday, we threw on suits and overflowed the spa pool. What a wonderful nightcap to the beautiful day.
The next day was similarly packed with action and excitement. The four of us first stopped in Kerikeri to visit the Stone Store. It was built in 1835 and now hosts a small museum and gift shop. The stones came from the river outside the front door. It was a charming place.
Afterwards, we drove to Rainbow Falls. You can see the 75 foot high falls from quite close to the car park; but we wanted more. We took the switch back track down to the pool at the base of the falls and I memorialized the event as Marc, Kevin and Jane stripped down to their swimsuits and slid into the water. The energy of the falls made for an enticing lure and it didn’t take long to reach the base.
We parted with Kevin and Jane after Rainbow Falls and began our push North. There is a point in Cape Reinga where the waters of the Tasman and the Pacific meet and we are keen to see it. On the way to our next stopover, we had lunch at the highly recommended Manganui Fish Shop. Their bluenose fish is a specialty. We can see why. Even the oysters were pretty good.
After a disappointing first attempt to stop, we landed across the bring from Coopers Beach, in Taipa. We found Fred and Dorothy through the New Zealand Motor Caravan travel directory. For a low-cost, they let us stay in their yard for the evening and hook up power. This also gave us a chance to straighten out the camper and take stock of a reduced functioning fridge. As it turns out, it was being parked at an angle that messed up the three-way fridge.
Once confident of our fridge, we set out for provisions and further shores. This is our second day now at Matai Bay Reserve DOC camp.It’s started to rain now, but the tide is on its way out so perhaps we can still go for a tramp later. There is a certain Powhutakawa tree I want to sit in for a picture later. In the meantime, I think I’ll sit back and watch the rain.
*Until I can get access to steady internet while traveling, I’m afraid I will only be able to post when circumstances allow. Hang in there with me.