Day Four: North Island Forests

The 7.30am alarm went off far too soon! We joined the others for our breakfast cooked by the owner of the B&B. Eggs, cereal, toast and bacon. It was a funny breakfast because the owner is South African and as he was able to speak Afrikaans (similar to Dutch), he was making jokes about the Germans. Back in the van we traveled along the west coast to different vantage points where we could see 90 mile beach and many other look outs along the way. It was very windy at the look outs but we were lucky enough to miss the rain every time we got out of the car.

We visited the oldest, largest (by girth) Kauri Tree, Tane Mahuta, in the forest. In Mauri cosmology, Tane Mahuta is the son of earth and sky and is known as the life giver to everything on earth. To view it, you have to go through this gate where you clean the bottom of your shoes with bristles and then spray them with disinfectant because the forest is dying from dieback disease - a type of rot that is carried on shoes and from mammals. The tree was enormous! It almost appeared artificial amongst the smaller trees within the forest. This particular tree has been potentially dated back to 2000 years ago and is 18 metres high and has a girth of 14 metres.

We went to visit the second largest Kauri tree along another walk but it was currently closed to due to potential soul contamination. We were close by to Dargaville so we drove there to have some late lunch at 3pm. I was feeling very nauseated so I chose pumpkin soup. Whilst eating lunch, we discussed what the plan was for the following day and we had a look on the navigation and it would take 4 hours to get to Hamilton so we ended up back in Auckland. We booked rooms at the Crowne Plaza and we all got upgraded to deluxe suites again.

After a quick freshen up, we went to the bar for a glass of wine or beer and most of us went for a walk to a close by Belgium Pub. When we asked for a table for 6, we had to show identification and we were all turned away because we had international licenses and they would only accept passports. We decided to head back to the hotel and go to the Japanese restaurant that Jip and I went to on the first night. It was delicious again! We were all so tired that we went to bed around 9.30pm.