Waterfalls, Dunes,Trees and Toilets

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sun 12 Nov 2017 05:59
Well we didn't go out to anchor as the forecast was not good, with gale force winds on Wednesday. We hired a car for three days, strangely for a modern country you don't have to have insurance to drive here but the excess on the hire agreement is that you pay the first $3000 of any damage! We paid to reduce that to $250. 

On Wednesday we went to Kerkeri and walked up the river to visit Rainbow Falls. We parked near the Stone Store, the first brick built store in New Zealand and followed the river. A small bird flew around us and kept landing in front of us displaying his tail, logically this was a Fantail. The walk followed the river and felt quite remote but we could hear traffic and saw occasional houses. Although there was a cave behind the second falls the Rock was too wet for us to safely get into it. We had lunch in a pleasant cafe then off to the Kauri Forest. This gave us our first experience of driving on gravel roads, all of a sudden the tarmac stopped and we onto what we would call forest tracks, but well maintained, these roads are quite normal. When eventually we reached the forest we only had time for a short walk. This was on a boardwalk to keep you away from the tree roots which are easily infected with Kauri dieback. You are asked to clean your shoes before entering the forest, and when leaving. The Kauri's are tall pines which shed their lower branches as the grow and are incredibly straight, the gum they produce was used to make lino and varnish. A lot of the forests have been cleared but the tree is now protected.

Stone Store


Wharepuke Falls

Rainbow Falls

Thursday we went for the long drive. It's 200km to Cape Reinga, not quite the North most point on North Island but near enough. The Maori believe that when you die your spirit travels to this point to depart the earth. It is the meeting place of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean and can be very rough. Looking across the bay you can see the dunes which are huge and people slide down them on boards, trays etc. These are at the North end of 90 mile beach (actually about 90 km long)

Cape Reinga, the seas meet.

The final tree, from which the souls depart.

Te Paki sand dunes.

90 mile beach.

On Friday we needed a rest so had a later start and stayed fairly local, first visiting  Hundertwasser's toilets in Kawakawa. Hundertwasser was an Austrian architect and ecologist who settled in Kawakawa and this building was awarded the Premier Award in Urban and Landscape Design. A strange mix of materials, shapes and colours.


The public toilets in Kawakawa, Hundertwasser's toilets.

Then onto the west coast to see Hokianga Harbour and the largest Kauri tree left standing.

The largest Kauri.