Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bay of Islands

I was hoping to have put this post up yesterday but, since the only other computer in the house died just before Christmas, my computer has not been my own and I was unable to get any where near it yesterday... facebook and all the other social network sites were taking up all of Harriet's time!!! I have ordered a new battery for the laptop but it has not arrived yet... how frustrating!! So, having taken down the Christmas decorations all by myself, cleaned the house thoroughly and made some wonderful hot 'Bottle Green' spiced berry drink ... highly recommended... I am hogging the computer until this task is completed!
January 4th 2009 was another fantastic day. We left the hotel in Auckland, travelled over the Harbour Bridge and said goodbye as we headed North. I really had no idea what to expect, I just knew that I was going to love it... that's an understatement!
We travelled up Highway 1 until we arrived at Matakahoe. On the way here our driver was telling us all about the Giant Kauri trees that are native to New Zealand and were a source of work for many men for many years. they are now protected, but the kiwi's are obviously proud of their heritage and association with these trees.
Here we are inside the museum... the plank of wood on the right is cut from one tree and is at least twice as along as you can see. The markings on the end wall show the girth of the trees as they grow. They take 2-4000 years to grow to maturity ( compare the rings to the size of the chairs against the back wall... this gives you an idea of the true size of these giants!)
The photo below is of a small church also on this site... all the wood work that you can see is made from Kauri wood. It really is stunning! It was built in 1867 and was used as a church, community building.
Here is the school house, used between 1878-1972!!
I just loved all the satchels hung up on the wall... I remember having a satchel... do you?
I wonder what today's teachers would make of these rules???? I think it would provoke a national shortage... don't you??!!!

From this amazing place we moved on further up North, climbing mountains that were covered in tree ferns, Kauri and pine trees... such a tropical landscape. At times I was afraid that the coach might veer off down the mountain, but we had a skilled driver who kept us on the straight and narrow... literally!
We made a stop to walk through the forest to view one of the oldest, largest Kauri trees in the forest today... You really get no perspective of how huge this tree really was from this photo, but you can just make out the top of a mans head in the bottom of the photo.. this will give you some idea.

After travelling up and down mountains for a good part of the day, we were told to shut our eyes until we rounded the corner at the top, and this is the view that surprised us all as we opened them again! So, so different to the green luscious hills we had been looking at... this is Hokianga harbour.....

It is so awesome.... the colours that you see in the picture are true colour, I've not doctored the photo in any way!

As you can see, we were able to jump out of the coach, into the heat (mmmmm), and take some photos.... I still can't get over how beautiful it is...

Our final stop, before going to the hotel, was at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.... this is where we had a tour of the Treaty house and grounds. The Bay of Islands was initially discovered by polynesian settlers and later by European explorers, Cook and Du Fresne in the late 18th century. Eventually, whalers, and sealers settled followed by Christian missionaries. James Busby was sent from England to mediate with the local Maori chiefs, as there were reports of 'lawless behaviour'. On February 6th 1840 a treaty was signed by 43 chiefs and British officials, it was then taken around the country until 500 chiefs in all had signed it. It was an 'agreement between two peoples to live and work together in one nation.....'

Waitangi Day, 6th February, is a National holiday in New Zealand and I was fortunate enough to still be in the country then.. will tell all on February 6th 2010!

The Treaty house...

The flag pole marks the spot where the treaty was signed...
Within the grounds of the Treaty house is a marae... this is a communal meeting house for Maori's... we are not normally allowed inside, unless invited, but this one was a little different...

The carvings are stunning, and will tell a story or be the symbols of particular tribes or Maori families....

... the Throne...

After the fascinating cultural tour it was tome to relocate to Paihia where our hotel rooms were for the next couple of nights.... and here is the view from my windows....
Jealous????....


This was a beautiful place to stay... the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, drinks on the veranda.. what more could I ask for?


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the chances are that I'll be able to take a year off and go round the world - there are so many places I want to visit!! Now New Zealand is a definite, along with Kos, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest, Iceland for the Northern Lights, Austria........and so it continues!! Loving the photos - and living vicariously for now!!
Love Wendy xx

Serenata said...

Well just wonderful, all those places I have been to and you have brought back lovely memories. I am going to NZ in February and are meeting up with a friend from Australia who I last saw 15 years ago. We are spending time in the Bay of Islands.