29 January 2013

There and back again...A Northland Tale {Part 3}

Braced for a big day of travelling, the adventurers are on the road bright and early. Driving right across country from east coast to the west, their first destination a towering Kauri tree in a dense forest known as Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest).





Along the way, they attempt a quick coffee stop in the sleepy town of Opononi where the magnificent sand dunes across the water draw the eye immediately. They pull into an empty carpark and ask the friendly Maori guy in the only open-looking restaurant whether they 'do coffees at all?' 'Aw....yeah' was the classic response. Twenty minutes later (!) there are four coffees in front of them but they all declare them to taste amazing, coffees to rival any inner city Wellington cafe that's for sure. This unexpected experience reminding them not to judge a book by its cover! The travellers also make sure they pay homage to 'Opo the friendly dolphin' who was forever immortalised in Kiwi history for 2 summers in the 1950's.


After a few more winding corners on the road leading them up into the forest, the travellers stop dead in a clearing, feeling their gazes drawn up, up and further up into the the canopy of trees. In front of them and reaching 51 metres towards the heavens is Tane Mahuta, a 2000 year old kauri tree. It's not just the height that impresses, but its width as well. At 14 metres round, they calculate it would take 7-8 people standing with their arms outstretched linked together to reach around this monstrous being. It reminds them greatly of the giant trees in the movie Avatar that were able to sustain the life of the Na'vi people. No photos could ever do justice to the size and scale of this remarkable king of the forest.



The travellers wind their way back towards Opononi and civilisation, stopping at an impressive vantage point over the Hokianga harbour to take some photos of the sand dunes (with random chickens included in the photos for free).




The travellers have heard good things about a place called the Boatshed Cafe, in the tiny settlement of Rawene on the shores of the harbour. The gourmet pizzas served up are a delight to the tastebuds, and the amazing views from the deck a tonic to the soul.





They queue up well in advance of the 1.30pm sailing to Kohukohu, and are relieved that the breeze created by the short journey on the ferry eases the incredible warmth that has descended on the day.






A late afternoon swim (which becomes a daily occurence on this holiday) helps the travellers cool off nicely before the nightly BBQ on the deck enjoying their view of the falls tops off yet another terrific day.

Tomorrow more local history awaits them.

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