First I drove across to the west coast. As I drove along, I saw a sign outside a shop: LENS PIES (in block caps like that). I spent a few moments wondering what sort of pies these might be; surely not made of lenses? Then, I got it. Len’s Pies. Anti greengrocer’s apostrophe problem.
I stopped at The Landing Cafe and i-SITE information centre, Opononi, for tree-oriented information and a coffee.
I was told that Ara Te Uru cape was also worth a visit, so I stopped off there first.
|Google Earth view of Arai Te Uru cape. Car park in bottom right corner.|
|Arai Te Uru : looking north east along the river|
|Arai Te Uru : looking west to the Tasman Sea|
|Still impossible to get a sense of scale. Tane Mahuta’s trunk’s girth is 45.2 feet, so the diameter is over 14 feet – nearly three times that of yesterday’s huge tree!|
|The path into the forest. Not exactly wilderness, but there were no other people around, which made it wonderfully atmospheric.|
|A confusion of trunks. The Four Sisters, plus some smaller siblings.|
|The Four Sisters|
Eventually I moved off, a further 15 minute stroll deeper into the forest to Te Matura Ngahere, Father of the Forest, the second largest Kauri tree (by volume).
|deeper in the forest the gravel path is replaced with boardwalk|
|another magnificent Kauri|
Then, a bend in the boardwalk, and suddenly, about 100 yards ahead in a clearing was the big tree.
|Whoever designed the walk had an eye for the dramatic|
|Like all the Kauris, the trunk goes straight up for ever before branching out into a whole separate independent world|
One the way back I barely glanced at any more trees. This was partly due to the rain, which started in earnest as I headed back, but mainly due to the fact that all the trees along my route, Four Sisters included, now looked like mere saplings.
After that, I drove down through the forest (a stunningly beautiful drive), then to Dargaville, and dinner.
|From Piahai to Dargaville, via Arai Te Uru cape and Wiapoua Kauri Forest, ~170km|