Sunday, July 6, 2008
Leaving New Zealand will be difficult, I have met so many wonderful people who have shared their spirit, their smiles and their beautiful country with me.
I will not forget the tranquility I have experienced being in a country where most people's attitudes are "why worry?" and airport security is almost non existent. This is a different way of life for me and one I hope to take back with me to the States.
New Zealand seemed really far away before I left, but now I know it is just a plane ride away, and Air New Zealand sure makes it easy to get here www.airnewzealand.com.
Thanks to all who helped make this trip so memorable!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Here is Hone, from Waka Taiamai Heritage tours.
The tour around the Bay of Islands included going through the hole in the rock.
From Paihia, I traveled about an hour in my rental car, (getting pretty good at driving on the left side now, may have trouble when I return to the States!) It took about an hour and a half to get to Hokianga Harbor and the Copthorne Hotel http://www.copthornehokianga.co.nz/ in Omapere. The hotel is lovely and overlooks the historic harbor, infamous for grounding hundreds of boats back in the day, due to a sand bar. After a rest, I checked in for the Footprints Waipoua Tour, http://www.footprintswaipoua.com/. Dressed in many layers including rain gear, I headed out with Taffety and Bill (English spellings of their Maori names), really Tawhiri and Wiremu! The pronunciation of wh is "f" and New Zealanders pronounce the "r" like a soft "t", so I hear Taffety. Our gang of 9 headed out in a van to drive up the steep and winding hill to the Kauri forest. The sky was dark and it began to rain, typical of a rain forest. We were all given head lamps and large umbrellas for our hour long trek in the forest to view Tane Matua and Te Matua Ngahere, 2,000 and 4,000 year old Kauri trees. These magnificent ancient beings were left behind during the milling of Kauri trees, back at the turn of the century (now banned and they are fiercely protected) presumably because they were just two big to cut down. The tour was spiritual and funny as T and B told us Maori stories and joked with us on the way to Te Matua Ngahere. When we arrived, we were all awestruck by its size, its circumference being 45 feet around. Taffety sang a song and we all paid our respect to the giant. The evening was magical for several reasons, but mostly having the opportunity to walk in the rain forest at night amid the presence of Bill and Taffety and the trees and nobody else!