Travel Tuesday BLOG Post
NOTE: This post contains slideshows and if you are reading it on your phone, it is best viewed direct from the SITE, rather than in the READER.
In the absence of current travel options, this is a rework of our 2014 trip Down Under, previously posted on a private blog site.
WOW, what a day. Today was Patty’s Down Unda birthday and I tried to make it special for her. We left Paihia at 7:30 A.M., heading for Rawene on Hokianga Harbour for breakfast. They have a cute little café (the Boathouse), which looks blissfully toward the other side of the harbour. Breakfast is on the outdoor deck, which is cantilevered over the water (low tide today) where diners can watch the ferry silently glide back and forth across beautiful green water with sunlit sparkles on it.
The mochas were so fabulous, we had 2, just so we could linger longer. I had the mushrooms on toast with local butter and Manuka bacon. Patty had a BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) on a bagel. Time actually did stand still for about an hour.
After breakfast, we wandered through this tiny picturesque town and bought some Maori bread and jam in a local store. This would be consumed later, if required.
We then headed off for the harbour mouth, where we walked down to the beach and out near the seaside before the incoming tide forced us to retrace our steps. From our beach vantage point, the huge Oponoi sand dunes across Hokianga Harbour did not look to be their reported 300 m (984 feet) height, but we were assured they were.
Back up from the beach, we then hiked up to Signal Point on the bluff above it. Again, the sunlight followed us and it was so beautiful. The bunny tail grass shone in the bright sunlight.
Our relaxation over, we drove on toward Dargaville, getting lost on our way to a nearby waterfall. We finally found it and went for a short hike through the forest enjoying the bird song and bright sunshine.
Then, we were off to the Waipoua Kaori Forest to see the real stars of the show, the Kauri trees. Kauri trees are the 2nd largest tree (by volume) in the world and they are magnificent. We saw the largest (2,000+ years old), the 2nd largest, the 4 sisters and so many other Kauris as we walked through the lush forest. Kauri trees stand so long in one spot, they become the host for numerous ferns and other parasitic plants. Kauri bark flakes off over time to help them shed these parasites and the flakes can build up around the trunk to a height of 2 meters or more. The trees and the walk were both spectacular and again the sun was with us. At one point, we saw a group of Japanese tourists offering a reverential prayer to these giants.
Further up the road, we drove to the top of the mountain to a forest lookout tower and saw an endless sea of trees in all directions.
Then it was off to Dargaville, a small forestry town, which everyone advised us that it was not the kind of town that warranted a stay of 2 nights. After our brief tour of the town, looking for supper, we had to agree. We did find a restaurant (the Blah Blah Blah Café) where we had excellent Gurnard fish with mashed potatoes and salad, but the ambiance was 1960s, small town. We decided that we will shift towns tomorrow to Whangarei and celebrate Patty’s birthday there.