Did someone say Hobbit? This is the land of the hobbit. We made our epic 5-day voyage, up the west coast stopping at one of the last surviving Kauri forests. Kauri trees are native to New Zealand, the wood was prized by all, but the Europeans took it to the brink of extinction. The Waipoua Kauri forest is owned and run by Maori, and it was a great place to stop, hike and spend the night. The next day we went to visit Tane Mahuta, named for the Maori God of the forest the oldest and biggest Kauri tree alive today.
We hit Omapere on the Hokianga harbour, the coast up here is covered with huge sand dunes, that were apparently thrown out from the tops of erupting volcanoes.
We visited Dhaj, the mother of my friend Brent Sumner, living in a tiny village called Peria (near Doubtless Bay), to stay in her amazing hand built home. She let us stay at her holiday rental ‘the adobe art house’. Then we headed to the very tip of the island, Te Rerenga Wairua, to see the place where Maori spirits depart the earth, and return to their spiritual home of Hawaiki.
Back down the west coast we stopped at Bay of Islands, famously picturesque, to watch a sunset and visit the town of Waitangi.
This is the place the Treaty between the British and the Maori chiefs was signed regarding the ownership of land in New Zealand.
It’s a pretty simple one-page document, it goes something like this.
Article 1. The queen is now in charge.
Article 2. You can keep your land unless we want it.
Article 3. There is nothing you can do about it.
We headed south after spending the night in a cow field. Camping on the side of the road is no problem, and I actually like roughing it, as friends who have traveled with me will know.
A roughing it necessity, a pee bucket.