Day 4/35

Tokatoka Peak

Today, I get up a bit early, but not too early yet: 07:00. Yesterday, I went to bed around 01:00. Writing the story about the dogs took a lot of time. I start with a footlong at Subway en head off directly after that. The west coast will be visited today. I start driving in the direction of Dargaville. The first part has soft rolling hills with a lot of ground fog. The similarities with Great-Brittain are striking. After a while I am driving along the Wairoa River. Hilly surroundings with lots of space. Shortly after I notice a sign with “Tokatoka Peak”.

Signpost for Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

Hmmm interesting. Let’s have a look. Soon after, I discover that this is a very steep hill that stands quite high in the landscape.

Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

I can barely imagine that there is a path to it’s top. After some looking around I discover that there is a path indeed.

The path to the top of Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

This path is very steep and it takes me 20 minutes to get to the end of it.

The path to the top of Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

The top is quite small, only 4×4 meters. Here, you most certainly do not want to trip, because that will result in a fall of several hundreds of meters, head first. The view is truly amazing.

View over the river left…

Overview from Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

…and right

Overview from Tokatoka Peak, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

I stay here for over an hour and shoot a couple of panorama’s of the river and it’s direct surroundings. After a while the sun becomes much brighter and the wind picks up. Definitely time to descend. On the way back I take a look backwards a couple of times and take a photo of the steep path behind me. It is quite difficult to setup the tripod here and keep my own footing as well.

Beautiful Lakes

I continue to the Kai Iwi Lakes. These are sometimes very brightly coloured, depending on atmospheric conditions, but today that is not the case. I even pass them without noticing. That boring they are today. On the way back I spot 10 turkeys wandering around. To me it is not clear weather these are wild or not.

Turkeys around Kai Iwi Lakes, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

Ancient Trees

The next stop is at Trounson Kauri Park. This is an ancient forest as they call it here. A forest that has stayed original and is protected nowadays. The forest has a couple of large Kauri trees.

Trees in Trounson Kauri Park, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

Some of these trees are 600-1000 years old. A wooden pathway through the forest protects the fragile roots. Kauriroots lie very close to the surface and are therefore vulnerable to damage. There is serene atmosphere in this forest, apart from some kids yelling around.

Trees in Trounson Kauri Park, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

I do understand now why these trees have been in demand for timber that much in the past. They are several meters in diameter and completely straight to the top.

Kauri trunk in Trounson Kauri Park, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

Apart from trees, the ground is covered with beautiful ferns.

Fern in Trounson Kauri Park, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

I continue to the Waipoua Kauri Park. The road goes straight throught the forest which has a height of around 15 meters on both sides, stuffed with ferns and other plants and trees. A truly spectacular sight.

Waipoua Kauri Forest, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

On several locations along this road you can get out for a short walk, mostly to patches of large trees. Here is nice view of the canopy, along some big trunks.

Waipoua Kauri Forest, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

The large trees are the major eye catchers, but their surroundings are sometimes truly spectacular.

Waipoua Kauri Forest, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

The low ground foliage here, consists of all kinds of ferns, competing with each other for light and space.

Waipoua Kauri Forest, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

The largest Kauri on the planet is called “Tane Mahuta”, which means “Lord of the Forest” in Maori. It’s age is unknown but estimated to be around 1200 years old. But it could be 2500 years as well. It contains 244 kubic meters of wood, has a height of 50 meters and a trunk width of 6 meters. I recognise this area from the last time I have been here. Do notice the woman in front of the tree. She is still standing about 15 meters away from it. She would be even smaller if she was really standing next to it.

Tane Mahuta, Waipoua Kauri Forest, late summer, North Island, New Zealand.

High Sand Dunes and Mangrove Forests

At Omapere I walk to the cliffs at the south side of the sea arm and take a couple of panorama’s of the high sand dunes on the other side. The walk takes only 15 minutes to get there. Sadly, something has gone wrong here with the panorama robot. It is impossible to stitch the photographs correctly because parts in between them are missing for a mysterious reason.

I still have plans to get to a walkway through the mangrove forests around Rawene but is getting out of reach. I can not find the path and meanwhile the sun is already setting. I have to start looking for a motel very quickly. I continue to Kaitaia, the last inhabited place on my way to the north cape. The east side of North Land has a couple of mangrove forests as wel as far as I know. Maybe I will have more luck overthere. The road to Kataia is comparable with the one of yesterday. Many curves and pitch black. The GPS sends me via an unpaved road through the forest. This is typically a road that you have doubts about and that makes you look at your fuel meter more often. In the end it seems to be all ok, but it just does not feel right. There is a lot of road maintenance along the last 40 kilometers and all road markings are missing here. This is very difficult driving in the dark. In Kataia I try the first motel I encounter but there is no one there. I have more luck at the second one and they even have internet!

A Nice Day

This was a nice day. I have had lots of sunshine. Not everything was equally beautiful, but I have seen very beautiful things.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, New Zealand Late Summer 2011, Day 04

Download the original gpx file gpx file here.

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