Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Trounson Kauri Park and points northward

Well today I left Kai Iwi Lakes and headed north towards Trounson Kauri Park.

It wasn’t far up the road and I had decided to go somewhere quiet and out of the way for the New Year.
It is a lovely Dept of Conservation reserve and has a kitchen, shower and toilet block.
There is a wonderful walk through some fantastic ancient kauri forest and most of it is boardwalk 






and there is some amazing views. I did the walk twice, once after dark to see if I could see a kiwi. Heard them but didn’t see them. Got dive bombed by the huhu beetles flying in the dark and head some amazing bird song and night chorus. A wonderful day and evening in a very quiet spot, apart from the game of petanque that was happening across the way. But it didn’t last long and a quiet night was had to usher in the New Year. I think someone had some fireworks somewhere but I may have dreamed them!
Had an interesting visitor to see in the New Year this morning.


After a lovely breakfast of vanilla yoghurt, weetbix and fruit and fresh coffee I packed up and headed north again. Had an interesting time heading back to SH 12 as there was an interesting intersection, I headed up one side then decided that I was on the wrong side of the creek, so I did a three point turn and headed back and took the left hand turn. Turned out that either road would have taken me back to SH12, both were metal roads and interesting. Glad that there was not too much traffic ie none!
Headed up SH 12 towards the little settlement of Waipoua along the Waipoua River Road. Nice little river but horrendous road, narrow and very pot holed. Got to the information centre and had a coffee and then had a look at their series of historic photos.
 I had asked if they had any from the time of the building of the road as my grandfather J.P. Church was the surveyor who put the road through. One of the guys there said that he recognised the name, but we couldn’t find the photo that he remembered. They change them often. Apparently all their pictures are from the Alexander Turnbull Library so I can have a look there. We had a bit of a chuckle over the old saying that Pop had been paid by the corner on this stretch of road. He had heard the same story.
I found some photos of the opening of the road and some pictures of the maternity hospital at Te Kopuru where I was born.



From there I meandered along Pop’s road through to Tane Mahuta, the God of the Forest. I stopped and wandered in to see Tane Mahuta and it still staggers me that that tree was around when Jesus walked the earth.



It was not pleasant to see the amount of kauri dieback along the road. Very sad indeed. I hope that people are obeying the rules, sticking to the paths and spraying their boots and shoes if there is disinfectant there.
From there I headed down the other side towards Waimamaku, I couldn’t remember where my Uncle Don lived so headed towards Omapere. Heading towards the final hill towards the Hokianga Harbour I came across a huge number of cars parked along the sides of the road, further down there was a marae with the flag flying at half-mast so a major tangi underway possibly.
Once I hit the top of the hill, the Hokianga harbour in all its glory.





In Omapere I cleaned out the dump tank and headed to Opononi looking to have a quick paddle in the harbour. Well who had forgotten what a tiny town it was and the distinct lack of parking was a bit of a problem. So basically I headed straight through and carried on down the road to a little place called Wairere, just inland from Horeke and parked up at a property there, run by a lovely couple who run Wairere Adventures.  They do 4 wheel bike tours, walks and kayaks.   
I parked down by the Wairere River and quickly unloaded the kayak and headed off downstream, knowing that the tide was heading out.





 It was a very interesting trip through some awesome mangrove swamp that was full of life. Birds, crabs, fish and oysters. The outlook changed every time I headed around a corner with the river getting wider and the sides changing. I noticed that there was a huge tidal drop/rise in the river of about 1.5 meters looking at the water levels and where the tide marks were on the banks. 3km later I headed out under the bridge into the Hokianga Harbour. Once I poked my nose out of the river into the harbour, the kayak was grabbed by the outgoing tide and I headed down the harbour back towards Opononi! I quickly took a couple of pics 


and headed back up the river. Against the tide it was a bit of a slog but not too bad. What I didn’t realise that the water level had dropped so far since I had come down the river and on the last leg of the journey I came across a massive tree across the river…..then I remembered that I had passed over the tree on the way down and now it was completely blocking the river! So a drop in level of about 45cm in the time it took me to get there and back. So with a bit of manoeuvring and me lying flat on my back on the kayak and twisting it all sideways I managed to slide under the tree, scraped myself on the tiny mussels growing on the trunk and got hideously muddy in the process. Sorry no pics…. And worse yet I actually had to get out in the middle of the river and walk the last 100 meters as there was not enough water to paddle in! So a very wet, muddy me and kayak arrived back at the bus.
From there I went for a walk up the hill behind the camp and took some awesome pictures of the view down the river to the harbour. 



On the way back I was amazed by the number of skylarks limping away from me, protecting their nests.
There are some interesting rock formations in the area and they are quite unusual.




On returning to the bus I decided that a washing session was due so out with the ‘washing machine’ and away I went. Remembered to take some pics this time!


The evening was beautiful 

and quiet and in the morning the fog had descended into the valley and made a beautiful picture. 

More to come.......