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Old 07-31-2018, 06:23 PM   #171
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

Hello! Sorry for the lapse in thread updates.

We are now back in the USA, and have retrieved our van from LA. Currently the heat and wildfires are driving us towards Canada, and we are in Oregon currently.

We still have a few posts, and some NZ summary info to add here, so stay tuned.

We will also be traveling the Western USA until we exhaust our funds, so the adventure is not yet concluded.
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:15 AM   #172
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

The North East Coast

By Jen.

We continued our journey to the Far North of the North Island. We visited another flooded town in the Bay of Islands. This one’s claim to fame is a public toilet designed by the architect, Hundertwasser.








It was pretty cool, but the tiles are pretty slick when wet.







We made our way to Paihia, but with the recent rains, the bay water looked pretty muddy.



We made a stop at St Paul’s Church, which stands at the site of NZ’s first church. This newer church is a beautiful building with some fun stained glass.












Nearby was the Haruharu Falls, which normally you can kayak under. Not today!




Nearby was Kerikeri.


This the Stone Store. It is NZ’s oldest stone building (1836).


Leaving the Bay of Islands area, we continued further north.



First off was Matauri Bay.






Piapia Bay.



Tauranga Bay.



St Paul’s Rock.

We finally reached the northernmost peninsula on NZ, the Far North. Our first stop after fueling up was Gumdiggers Park. This is kinda an outdoor museum of the industry of kauri gum. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, this swampy land was dry enough to support kauri forests. At least twice in history, a cataclysmic event knocked over these trees and buried them. Now the swampy land preserves the wood and gum that was buried. And people used to dig the gum up for trade. In more recent times, they were used for making resins.



But first, an Auckland green gecko.



They are amazingly hard to find.



A rough way to live in this enviroment!





Sometimes it was a bit like panning for gold.



A gum-washing machine.



They would dig holes along the trunks of fallen trees to find the roots, where the most gum was located.



This massive root structure belongs to a tree that is approximately 14 meters in girth. The wood has been tested to be around 100,000-150,000 years old, possibly the oldest non-fossilized wood found on earth.



That vertical wood there is a more recent (45000 years ago) tree that grew up over the remnants of the earlier one.



In 2011, they unearthed this beauty, which is from 150,000 years ago.



At least all this rain provides plenty of rainbows.
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:22 AM   #173
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

The Far North


By Jen.

We finally reached the northern tip of New Zealand! This means, from here on out we have less time left on the North Island than we have been there; the downhill stretch from here.

Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip that you can drive to on public roads. So we started off our day there.









This is an ancient Kahika tree (similar to the pohutukawa trees) is hanging off the edge of a small island there. It has never been known to flower.






This point is where the Tasman sea (left) on the west meets the Pacific Ocean from the east (right).




From there, we decided to check out the “Giant Sand Dunes” we saw advertised on the way up to Cape Reinga. It had been raining a lot recently and the river was overflowing. More rain was on the way, so we decided not to walk to the dunes.














From here, we tried to head up to the Surville Cliffs, the actual northernmost point in NZ, but found out that the road that leads to it is private property and doesn’t allow visitors. With the poor weather, we didn’t want to walk or kayak, so we decided to detour to Te Hapua, a town in a nearby harbor, from which we could see the white-sand dunes of Great Exhibition Bay.









A little Christian Church on the highway on our way back southwards.

From there, we traveled back down the peninsula, heading towards Shipwreck Bay before touring down the Kauri Coast.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:41 AM   #174
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

At least you now know first hand why everything is so green in NZ lol.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:12 PM   #175
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Welcome back (to North American bush fire season)!
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:41 PM   #176
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

Kairi Coast

The west coast of the North Island's far north is known for its Kauri trees, both living and long buried.  This photo shows the stump of a long-felled monster Kauri.  The stump starts at the step in the foreground, and continues past where I stand in the background.
 

Besides their timber, kauri trees were sought after for their gum.  Before modern chemistry, polymers and resins used for varnish, floor coverings, etc., came from natural sources.  Kauri gum comes from cured sap.  Part of the secret to kauri trees' long life is the resin-rich sap.  This sap congeals into hard gum around any wound, damage, or infection.  In the previous century, climbers would use picks and steel crampons to climb these great giants.  Cutting gashes into their bark made them bleed sap which could be harvested later. 



Deep in the mountains along our route were several groves of ancient kauri behemoths. The largest and oldest of which is Tane Mahuta.  Standing over 150ft tall, it is over 55ft to its first branch.   The trunk has a girth of over 45ft, and a volume of over 8,800 cubic feet.  At over 2,000 years old, it may still live hundreds more.



Here it is from half a football field away.  It towers above the trees around it.  Sadly all the trees in this grove are under threat from an introduced fungus that is spread by dirty footwear.  Other trees only a few hundred feet away have already succumbed. 


Of interest to us was the aptly-named Kauri Museum.  A sprawling facility with everything from Kauri gum art to a complete reclaimed sawmill, it was fascinating and sobering at the same time. 

This 12 seat table is made from a single piece of 6” thick Kauri lumber. 


This is a 1500-year-old kauri stump that was buried in a swamp.   It was 400 years old when it was buried by a cataclysm of some kind.



You can get a feel for the scale of the logs the lumberjacks worked with.


This is the Billygoat Track Tramway we walked in Coromandel.  During its heyday, nary a tree was left standing.


The wealth of many early NZ families was prevalent in the incredibly-ornate furniture.


This piece is a landscape “painted” completely from carved wood inlay.


Because…NZ?


One room had a huge collection of Kauri gums, both fossilized and recent.  Many were carved into works of art.




This “hair” is made from heated and pulled kauri gum.






Kauri burls.


Victorian-era NZ home (upper class).  Missing of course is the film of soot from the wood-and-coal fireplace.


In order to get giant kauri logs down from remote places, massive dams were built.   When the dam was filled with logs and water, it was released, flooding them downstream.


Felled in 1960 at about 900 years old, this tree germinated 100 years before humans (Maori) discovered NZ. 




This is 300,000 year old kauri wood (not fossilized!).  It was buried in a tsunami, and the resin migrated into the wood preserving it.  That cylinder weighs 25lbs!


Some industrial, butter-churning machinery.


Spanning this whole room, a complete cross-section of a kauri trunk.  So much wood…  Kauri of  this size are worth big money, especially today as they are almost entirely protected.  These long contiguous sections were incredibly desirable for building the structure and rigging for large, oceangoing vessels. In 1900, this log would have been worth about $24 (not inflation-adjusted), in 1998, it would be over $15,000


A nearly complete steam powered sawmill was also on display.






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Old 08-02-2018, 09:14 PM   #177
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

Thanks again for the virtual journey and hope Blue handled the journey home well! The coolness of Canada sounds so healing right now.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:59 PM   #178
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertAdventures View Post
The coolness of Canada sounds so healing right now.
HA! It's 35C here in SE BC the last few days. Should cool off soon, though.
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Old 08-03-2018, 06:01 PM   #179
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Default Re: Exploring New Zealand From The Left

Thank you for your building and travel posts. Your attention to detail inspired us when I got in a hurry during our conversion. We are also heading to New Zealand in December, our sprinter won't be coming along though. If you need a place to refresh and or do some repairs near Seattle PM us, we have plenty of room and Vashon Island is nice this time of year! Jim and Sue
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:25 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Island Jim View Post
Thank you for your building and travel posts. Your attention to detail inspired us when I got in a hurry during our conversion. We are also heading to New Zealand in December, our sprinter won't be coming along though. If you need a place to refresh and or do some repairs near Seattle PM us, we have plenty of room and Vashon Island is nice this time of year! Jim and Sue
Thanks for the offer! We will take you up on that next time we are in the area.

Now I just need to motivate myself to finish posting our travels in NZ!



In case you are wondering, what was strange to us coming back to the states? Everything in stores (especially Walmart) is freaking enormous! "family size"!? 48 pop tarts in a box. 3lbs of cereal, etc. And, everything has sugar added. I really enjoyed cereals (raisin bran for example) in Aus and NZ. They had less sugar. Raisin Bran for example had zero added sugar. I bought a box in the USA. Threw it out. The top two ingredients were wheat (not bran!) and sugar...
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