Monday, October 03, 2005

Far North Travelogue - Day Three

Gill has pointed out that we made the visit to the South Head on the following morning, on the Monday, before we headed north, so I got things slightly out of sequence, but I'm not going to bother reposting everything or editing it. I'm sure you get the gist. The atmospheric shot of the harbour, looking over the water back towards Opononi was taken on the Sunday evening! Anyway, by mid-morning we were heading north again with full coffee flasks ...

Map of the Far North, with each day's journey marked in a different colour

... and our first "pitstop" was suitably located to get photos of another old church at Pakanae ...

Marae-Roa Pakanae, St Luke's Anglican Church, home of Kupe's Memorial Stone - 3 Oct

... and some cannons which guard "Kupe's Memorial Stone", reputedly the ballast or anchor stone which the famous Polynesian navigator brought with him in his waka (canoe) to New Zealand some 8 or 9 centuries ago.

Marae-Roa Pakanae, Cannons - 3 Oct

We arrived in the small town of Rawene late morning, and waited half an hour or so for the ferry to arrive. This took us on a ten/fiftenn minute ride across the Hokianga harbour, which saved an hour or so of driving. Rawene is picturesque, if a little sleepy, and I guess most of the people who live there make a living from the tourist trade.

Street signs in Rawene, ferry terminus on the southern shore of the Hokianga Harbour - 3 Oct

There are many picturesque old buildings ...

Old Building in Rawene - 3 OctOld Building in Rawene - 3 Oct

As the ferry arrived, we realized that we didn't have much cash with which to pay the ferryman, so Gill did a quick run to the cafe to use her cash card, although it turned out that we did have enough after all!

Ticket collector on the Rawene-Rangiora ferry - 3 Oct

The girls braved the brisk cool wind to get out of the car for a few minutes ...

Louise on the Rawene-Rangiora ferry - 3 Oct

... but we didn't have much time to admire the view. This is the village of Matawhera seen from the ferry!

Village of Matawhera with church, from the Rawene-Rangiora ferry - 3 Oct

A couple of minutes after disembarking from the ferry on the other side, we arrived in the village of Kohukohu, where we stopped for lunch (pies) under more cannons, another toilet stop ...

Gill, Hannah & Leslie eating pies under the cannons at Kohukohu - 3 Oct

... and because there were so many old buildings in the tiny settlement, we went for a quick walk. This building has a masonic emblem on the facade, but doesn't look as if it has been used for anything for a while except perhaps as a storage room ...

Masonic building, Kohukohu - 3 Oct

... but many of the houses obviously are occupied, if a little decrepit. The sign reads "Decrepit Serenity"!

Decrepit Serenity - Cottage Garden in Kohukohu - 3 Oct

From here we left the harbour, and went into more hilly farm land, and then the sleepy hamlet of Broadwood, where we stopped briefly to have a walk on the swing bridge.

Gill and the girls testing out a swing bridge in the village of Broadlands - 3 Oct

We saw this cottage on a small side-road leading to the Herekino Harbour. Despite what looked like a newly painted roof - well, sort of - there was no sign of anyone living there, just a few derelict cars! There's a lot of this sort of thing in the Far North, we discovered ...

Derelict cottage near Herekino - 3 Oct

... although the farmland is generally well stocked (with livestock, I mean, mainly sheep up there). This view also from near Herekino - I think the little stock dam is full of Azolla, which we used to have in the weir at Linden Grange before the flood of 1996 (or was it 1995) took away the dam (and weir)!

Stock dam with Azolla, near Herekino - 3 Oct

As we drove through the hills towards the seaside town of Ahipara, we saw this extraordinary sand dune "perched" like a glacier on the hills.

Perched sand dune glacier, near Ahipara - 3 Oct

Ahipara was where we'd planned to stay the night, and after some long hours spent in the car, the girls were keen to get out. Before looking for a place to stay, we investigated the beaches, which form the southern end of the famed "Ninety Mile Beach". This chap, seen in Shipwreck Bay, was obviously a local walking his hunting dogs. The start of "Ninety Mile Beach" can be seen in the background of the photo.

Man walking his hunting dogs, Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara - 3 Oct

Then it was off to the camp ground, where we found the cheapest accomodation of our whole trip (two tiny cabins) and while we made some tea, the girls made friends with the neighbours and enjoyed the nice weather.

Camilla outside the girls' cabin in Ahipara - 3 Oct

After a quick drive into the town of Kaitaia and a visit to the supermarket for some food - we travelled pretty light this trip - we had an early night!

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