Sunday, 21 July 2013

Trees, Caves, Beaches, new plans and more WWOOOFing

We were discovering Whangarei and the surroundings a bit. After having a coffee and a look at the sale at Kathmandu (THE outdoor shop here in NZ), we went to one of the many parks in the area: The A.H. Reed Memorial Park, which has a very nice little treetop walkway. Kay was a bit uncomformtable with it :)
I finally learned how to recognise a Kauri tree, the most popular native tree, endangered by a special disease. We have not seen the tallest one yet, Tane Mahuta on the west coast, but the ones we have seen are impressive enough. Huge, ancient trunks. They must have seen a lot in their lives... 

On friday we made some very cool plans for the week after next - you will be surprised how our lifestyle changes :)
Around Whangarei, we found another group of caves: The Abbey caves. We were very motivated to see them after our first experience, but were a bit disappointed: They are smaller and we only found one entrance (There are supposed to be three of them there). It was a real challenge to get into them: A lot of climbing over and between huge rocks. And after a few steps inside, we found ourselves standing in front of water, about waist deep. On the side, you probably could have climbed along, but it was all hanging over, sharp rock and no view to see where the next hold might be, so we decided to let the cave keep its secrets and stay dry. 
We got out and the sun joined us, so it was the perfect weather to discover the Whangarei Heads. It was an amazing drive along the seaside, next to some green, rocky hills.We had a great walk along the beach with some calm waves, washing out our heads, leaving us relaxed and allowing us to take some deep breaths after a lot of driving and thinking about what we will do next. Another walk in the evening light rounded up the day.
We were heading south again anyway, so we chose to stay the night at Uretiti Beach again, one of the few DOC campsites (Department of conservation - they provide cheap or sometimes even free campsites.) in Northland. 

I took the chance to get up early today and have an amazing walk along the beach at sunrise. I cannot imagine many things more beautiful than a fire-red sun crawling up its way from beneath the endless water, sending a few golden rays and dark red clouds ahead, until it finally touches the horizon and the whole sea turns into a field of light.

Now, we have arrived at Susan & Tahe's retreat in Mangawhai region. We are WWOOFing again for a couple of days. It is beautiful here, a very cool house and a huge garden around it, with a dog and a cat and a feeling of quiet happiness around it. The two women, a kiwi-Maori couple, have been living here for ten years and are still working on small things. We will be doing some creative work here :)
And it's not just all the surroundings that immediately made a good impression on us - they are very spiritual people, too, producing their own Maori medicine and can tell a lot about their history and mythology.We are really looking forward to the time here and are already thinking on coming back when we are on our way south again.

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