Daily Archives: September 23, 2011

Return to Auckland – Day 216

6th September 2011

Meeting the Lord of the Forest

Today we jumped on the Magic Bus and headed back to Auckland. We stopped in at the info center of Hokianga Harbour hoping to watch a short video on Opo the gay dolphin…in terms of his happy temperament which I am sure is what all of you were thinking. But alas the video machine was glitching so we had to settle with skipping rocks across the bay. After a brief breakfast stop we headed to the Waipoua Forest to meet Tane Mahuta.

Tane Mahuta, or Lord of the Forest, is New Zealand’s largest known living Kauri tree. It is believed the tree was discovered around 1920.

Trunk Girth 13.77 m (45′ 2.12″)
Trunk Height 17.68 m (58′ 0.06″)
Total Height 51.2 m (167′ 11.74″)
Trunk Volume 244.5 m3

Tane Mahuta

According to Maori Legend, Tane is the son of Ranginui, Sky Father, and Papatuanuku, Earth Mother. His parents embrace prevented light from reaching earth and it was Tane who tore them apart and clothed his mother in the forests of today. All living creatures are considered the children of Tane Mahuta, whi is estimated to be between 1250 and 2500 years old.

Kauri and Pioneer Museum

The last stop is a truly interesting museum. Most folks don’t check it out, but since I had a ticket with the all inclusive ticket I thought what that heck. It turned out to be downright fascinating and a place more people should take the time to see. It showed the history of kauri logging and also kauri gum collection, quite valuable in the past. The most awe inspiring aspect of the museum were the cross sections of log showing dates. You truly don’t get the concept of a 1500yr old tree until you see that this tree was growing when Tasman discovered NZ in 1642 etc…

That was an old tree

Cross section of very large Kauri

Back in Auckland

Pulling in to Auckland mid afternoon we said cheers to our driver and the other folks we had met on the bus and basked in the glow of our Magical Journey… ok a little corny but it had to be said.

We decided to hang out, run some errands and take pics with some of the Rugby World Cup Landmarks.

The Countdown to the start

In front of the giant inflatable ball

All too soon it was time to catch trains and busses and say farewell till next time. The other 3 were heading to the Coromundel for the weekend and then traveling South on Magic. We planned to meet up in Wellington and continue our travels from there.

All in all those 4 days were just what I needed and I truly thank Magic for making it possible.

Here’s to good friends!

Good friends were made

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Exploring Paihia – Day 215

5th of September 2011

A Walk in the Sun

Today we have a free day from the tour. Due to the Magic Bus pick up schedule we can only be picked up on Tuesday. But that was fine with me as it gave a chill out day to explore this stunning town and take a walk in the sun to the Treaty Grounds.

The girls, all skilled in bike riding, decided to borrow hostel bikes and head to the Haruru falls.

Haruru Falls

Me, being slightly less adept at the art of bicycles, opted to take a walk and use the free entry I had to learn about some important New Zealand history, the Waittangi Treaty.

Waitangi Treaty

It was about a 2km walk from the hostel to the treaty grounds and all I had were my boots, and they were not hiking boots. But luckily they are wearable and only need new insole now and then. It felt great to walk along the waterfront, listening to music and contemplating…nothing.

stunning bay views

When I got to the Treaty Grounds I learnt that it was the Official Welcome for the Canadian Rugby Team. Bonus! But before they arrived I wandered around the treaty grounds and took in the beautiful forested areas. The Treaty was signed on 6th of February 1840 by the British Crown and various Maori Chiefs from the north island of New Zealand.It established a British Governor of New Zealand and recognised Maori ownership of land and gave them rights as British subjects. The treaty was written in both English and Maori… besides the fact that the Maori had no written language at the time, it was quite a remarkable event.

The Treaty Grounds are set amongst beautiful native bush and right near the water. The ceremonial waka (canoe) is open to the public to walk around and see the stunning workmanship. It was made out of 2 giant kauri trees.


The area is home to numerous species of native birds and as it was spring, I came across a number of young ones.

Pukeko and chicks

After exploring I headed over to the museum area where the Canadian Team would be welcomed. In traditional Maori fashion as the team walked up, there were numerous challenges by young men from different tribes. They would run up screaming, do an intimidating haka type dance and then lay some leaves on the ground. The team captain had to pick up the leaves and continue walking until confronted by another warrior. At the end the had to present the leaves to the chief and then were allowed entry. It was all very impressive and the young warriors did a fantastic job.

Welcome Ceremony

After enjoying the cultural experience and listening to speeches I noticed the weather becoming a bit threatening so I decided to head out. On the way I stopped for a coffee and cake, just as the girls were cycling past, so they joined me. As we sat down it started to rain, good timing. But luckily it was a short storm and it had stopped by the time we headed out. Back at the hostel we made a great dinner and relaxed for the evening. Tomorrow we head back to Auckland with a few interesting stops along the way with the Magic Bus.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: