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The Ancient Kauri Tree

Thursday 1st September 2015

sunny 17 °C

We had nowhere pressing to go today so we decided to have a relaxing morning at the lodge, catching up with bookings, emails and this blog. We had considered going out on the bikes provided for guests, unfortunately when I took a closer look they where mountain bikes with a cross bar and even with the seat lowered there was no way I was going to be able to ride them. Nigel would also have found them a bit tricky as well, now that his hip is playing him up a bit. In the end we decided to drive up through the Kauri forest and go to the Waipoua Forest Visitor Centre that we had seen yesterday. It wasn't a great distance once we had got from the lodge onto the main coast road. Initially we were driving through farmland and pine forests. We had noticed that when logging takes place in New Zealand it seems to happen on a massive scale so that a whole hillside will be stripped of trees. This leaves a massive scar on the landscape before it is either replanted or some vegetation grows back.

As we drove further north the road became steeper and more winding as we entered into the beginnings of the kauri forest. We saw a sign for a lookout and so Nigel turned off so we could have a look. The track was gravel and quite steep but we were hopeful that it wouldn't be very far. In the end it was probably about a kilometre until we reached a clearing with what was more like an old fire lookout, now open to the public. Once we went up the steps on out on the balcony we had good views over the forest.

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We then made our way back down the track and drove the remainder of the distance towards the Visitor Centre. This was also down a narrow gravel track and it seemed that we were destined to have to drive down them at least some of the time. When we arrived at the centre we were hoping to have some lunch, but they were about to close, I think because it had been quiet all morning. We were still served coffee and a panini which we were able to eat outside on the picnic tables. Once we had finished we went for a short walk so that we could look at the Waipoua river.

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It was ironic that having closed the visitor centre there seemed to be a constant stream of people driving up in their cars, however that wasn't really our problem. Ruby had mentioned another bit of Kauri forest further south at Trounson Park so we decided to take a look there. The most direct route was via a dirt track called Donnelly's Crossing but we had been advised the day before that this was was a difficult bit of road so instead we approached the park from the other direction. The forest was really special with dozens if magnificent kauri trees including some that seemed to have fused together in twos and in one place four together. They were quite hot on bio-security and so you were encouraged to disinfect your footwear on entering and leaving the forest. There were also lots of stretches of boardwalk in order to protect the delicate Kauri roots. There were a couple of places where trees were either diseased, had fallen or been blown down and it was interesting seeing how other plant matter quickly started to take over the rotting wood.

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Once we had finished our walk and returned to the car we decided to drive further south, past where we were staying and go to a place called Baylys Beach. This is part of Ripiro Beach which at 66 miles is longer than Ninety Mile Beach. When we arrived we could see that most people had parked on the beach, so Nigel bravely followed suit.

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We went for a short walk along the sand. I was keen to look at some of the rocks that were further up so I carried on, looking out for the vehicles that were being driven along the sand. It turned out on closer observation that there were some rocks but also a large number of tree stumps (probably ancient kauri stumps and lignite).

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There was also a large natural semi submerged pool on the beach. It is a lovely place and I could have easily spent loads of time there. I was just starting to walk back to meet Nigel when I became aware of a car driving in the sand in my direction. I didn't take much notice at first as I had seen quite a lot of cars going back and forth, but then I recognised our hire car. I was surprised to see Nigel driving up the beach, but it saved me walking to meet him.

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We both felt like we were ready to go back to our accommodation and we happy to just have a snack when we got back. As we were relaxing later in the evening Ruby popped by and I said that I had checked our paperwork and that we were definitely meant to get breakfast. As she didn't really have any food for us, and we did, she said she would give us some money off our bill when we checked out tomorrow.

Posted by Gill's Travels 02:14 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches trees ocean new_zealand kauri Comments (0)

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