Friday, September 16, 2005

Day 19 Auckland to Paihia

Today we crossed Auckland harbor bridge for the first time. The bridge was originally 2 lanes but due to more traffic 4 extra lanes were built in Japan then shipped over and added on!
The first proper stop was at the Waipoua Forest which is highly populated with Kauri. The Kauri is a massive tree that takes between 500 and 1000 years to mature but because of the advent of Europeans and logging they had at one point be all but wiped out. The Tallest in survival is 53.3m high. The largest in survival is called Tane Mahuta (God of the forest) which is 51.5m high but has a girth of 13.69m which gives it a total volume of 244.5m3. There is another tree with a girth of 16.41m. When I get to publish images back home I will tell you all the Maori myth of how the earth and sky were split by the forest to let in the light.
Today only 1-3% of Kauri forest survives compared to 1820 the largest of which is Waipoua Forest. There are many other great features in the forest including the Cabbage tree. The Cabbage Tree looks like a large palm tree but with a large kind of nut in the middle at the top. The Maoris used to boil the nut like a cabbage.
We then visited a picturesque waterfall before heading into the Bay of Islands then Pahia.
We visited the place the first Polynesians arrived and the first European settlers appeared.
Also nearby is Waitangi which is where the Waitangi Treaty was drawn up between the British and the Maori which has caused some controversy since. I would say more about the Waitangi Treaty but it would take to long.

We went to a BBQ with some free beer tonight at a near by hostel for only $10.


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