It was a wet morning in Opononi on Friday, but warm enough – 14 degrees outside at 7.30am. I caught up with the blog and got that posted while we still had phone coverage. We eventually got on the road by 11am, and drove separately down the road to the dump station a couple of kms south at the info centre. We carried on a couple more kms to the side road to South Head and repeated the walk we’d made the previous evening. It was still windy but we managed to time it between showers. The view back up the Hokianga Harbour over Opononi is lovely, and there is a great view the other way up and down the coast and out to sea. A small ketch was making slow progress up the coast under sail. Back at Suzi Wyn made some lunch while I got the car hitched up; just in time as the rain set in again. It was after 2pm by the time we finally headed over the hill and south; away from the Hokianga.
It wasn’t long before we were climbing up into the Waipoua Forest – home to our most famous kauri trees. We stopped and made the short walk to see Tane Mahuta again; we’d made it this far south on our trip with Laura the previous month. We’d been impressed then to stand under such a huge tree, and were no less impressed this time. A few kms on we stopped again at a place where there are three kauri walks. The car park is off the road and we discovered that turning round with the A-frame was not an option so had to disconnect and reconnect the car to get back out again. We settled for two of the walks; to the ‘Four Sisters’ and Te Matua Ngahere (‘Father of the Forest’). The Four Sisters are a couple of co-joined twin trunks – sort of interesting. Te Matua Ngahere is a big father of a tree, 16m in circumference and maybe 2000 years old. By comparison Tane Mahuta is 13m in circumference and maybe 1200 years old. However, Tane Mahuta is taller and contains more timber, so gets to be called the biggest. The Father of the Forest is looking a bit the worse for wear, it looks like parts are starting to fall off. The big trees are impressive, but for us the awesome bit was the walks to see them – through kauri forest. And the drive along the road – there are kauris all over the place. Elsewhere we’ve seen small clusters of kauri but walking through a forest of kauris is something else altogether. Awesome, stunning, inspiring. It is a shame that there is so little left, but thankfully there is at least remnants like these.
From there we dropped down out of the forest, enjoying the views of the forest on either side and above us. Eventually we were back to farmland; albeit lush pastures that looked more like parkland with lots of trees dotted around. We were soon at Aranga, a small settlement with a school and not much else. We stopped here at a parkover place; Wendy and Ross’s place. They let motorhomers park out the back of their house, except the grass was too wet and boggy. So they let us park in their driveway which was good. They have a lovely rural outlook; the greens are certainly green around here.