Day 51. Drive to Kauri Museum at Matakohe. Our fascination with these magnificent trees started three years previous on our first trip to the North Island.
The Kauri tree is NZ largest native tree, a type of pine from the conifer family it only grows in the subtropical north of the North Island.
Kauri Trees had been found to die on the inside, this hollowing out of the trunk eventually led to their collapse as the outer wood failed to keep them upright.
The museum contains an extensive collection of old working and stationery milling equipment, kept in pristine condition by the efforts of a volunteer group of engine enthusiasts.
An original Caterpillar 60 1929 used for hauling logs, taking the place of eight teams of bullocks – 112 animals!
For anyone interested in the history of the now protected Kauri Tree I cannot recommend the museum highly enough – and photos cannot do it justice. The many rooms are packed full of extensive artefacts on its timber, gum and charts the early pioneers in New Zealand.
Baylys Beach the gateway to Ripiro Beach – New Zealand’s longest drivable Beach.
Not for us though! There were very few places in NZ our hardy wilderness motorhome – Aramoana Two – could not tackle but this was one of them.
Even if we could have, weather had changed significantly and rain was lashing down as we arrived, strong winds only served to make the 100km long beach drive look very uninviting for driving. However we did park up and venture out for a chilly, windy, sand blast along the beach….
Beautiful scenic drive on to….
Kai Iwi Lakes Pine Beach Camp – nestled amongst 538 hectares of recreation reserve and three white sand freshwater dune lakes, again with few other visitors we were spoilt for choice and parked up with a glimpse through to the Caribbean like splendour of Lake Taharoa.
We arrived in light rain, not to be deterred with all the beauty around us a walk was in order. Luckily there are a number of walking tracks available. We chose to circuit the beautiful Lake Taharoa a mere 5 miles round trip.
The track was clearly marked and took us on gravel paths through forest always within a short distance from the lakes edge.
Weaving in an out we followed the tracks down onto the white sandy beaches and inviting jewel like emerald waters of the lake.
At it’s deepest the lake is 38.8m and is the second biggest lake in New Zealand.
A well deserved swim at the end, later followed by a beautiful sunset lakeside.
Day 52. Taking advantage of the warm early sun another swim in the beautiful clear turquoise waters of Lake Taharoa before reluctantly moving on to our next stop.
Beautiful drive through Waipere Kauri Forest and a stop to see Te Matua Ngahere – Father of the Forest. 50 minute return walk through native Kauri Forest.
First though a boot wash turnstile to help prevent spread of Kauri dieback disease.
Wide gravel tracks wound through thick forest…
Eventually leading to long boardwalks lined by Kauri trees ageing trunks clear of branches soaring skywards ending in a mass of foliage topped dense branches. It is almost impossible to convey in an image the sheer scale of these trees in height and girth.
We were in awe and wonder once again as we had been three years before on other Kauri tracks.
Suddenly at the end of the boardwalk Te Matua Ngahere ‘Father of the Forest’ stood filling the space with its huge presence.
It’s girth measures an incredible 16.41m Total height is 29.29m and trunk height before the first if its branches start is 10.21m. Estimated age between 2000 and 3000 years old
The top was lost in a severe storm in 2007 therefore it is not the tallest of the Kauri, nevertheless even without its top the muse felt like Alice through the looking glass by comparison…
Wairere Boulders – private nature reserve. A long, winding, dusty gravel road took us to this unique place for our camp for the night. 2 hour loop walk.
Starting out from the back of the information point and cafe we followed a well marked track using a handy map for guidance, through thick native bush and young Kauri trees 250-300 years old….
Wow a bush walk with a difference as huge boulders from volcanic activity had literally exploded out and overtime dropped into this huge cavernous valley, stacking up to create a black abyss.
Caves had been carved out by the rain over thousands of years….
Under and over massive boulders….
Over bridges, rushing rivers and small swimming pools….
An added bonus for the muse was the plant labels and information points along the way…
Towering boulders lining the route
Eventually after some steep climbing – when is there not a climb – we came to the lookout, a suspended platform over the valley and boulders below.
Then back to our camp spot for the night surrounded by quiet and peaceful beauty….