68. Old Friends, New Places

We stayed for a few days with our same friends who came to visit us in Kerikeri. Lots of talking talking talking. I love their garden full of fruit trees, including a banana tree, and vegetables. They took us for a local walk into a swamp and forest which I loved as it’s a walk we likely wouldn’t have otherwise found – this is why you need to spend more time in each place until you find and meet locals who know their environment way better than we can hope too, rushing through.
The ubiquitous cleaning station as we leave the mangrove swamp and enter a forest where kauri grow.
The dome is the the beginning of the forest we’ll be walking through, to end up on the historical Paparoa Pā site.
Te Paparoa Stream is picturesque.
I listened out for popping shrimps, but couldn’t hear any. Terry said he’s only heard shrimps popping in east coast mangrove swamps.
Up up up through glorious tropical forest.
We reach the top where there’s this map of the Pā site. We found many pits all over the place, all of them about as wide and long as a person’s body. These are historic kumara pits. I try to conjure up images of people living and working here, including the flax cloth clothing they might have been wearing, and the tools they might have been using, and games the children might have been playing. It’s hard.
We returned the same way we went in and drove to Pahi, a sleepy looking seaside village.
In Pahi grows an enormous fig tree!
Driving back along the Pahi River – really an inlet – and past more of that delicious hilly green farmland…
…to the Gumdigger’s Forest, which we heard about at the Matakohe Kauri Museum – it’s one of the places young kauri have been planted to create lasting kauri forests in Northland. This particular one is to commemorate the endlessly hardworking gumdiggers of the past.
This tree has been cut down – we’re not sure why as it’s a young one – and will be left in it’s entirety, down to the tiniest leaf and piece of bark, to prevent the moving around of spores that could result in kauri dieback.
We stopped back on the main road at an awesome cafe for a very late lunch.
A different day, a different drive. Today Terry and Jan took us along to visit Mangawhai Heads, another dreamy stretch of NZ coast set with islands in all directions. The one in the background here is Taranga Island.
The island in the background of this photo, directly behind the lump of rock at the end of the causeway (we’re about to walk around it), is Little Barrier Island.
There’s a walk that leads along these Heads which I intended to do, but now that we’re here I’m happy to just relax amongst the beauty and talk and look around. Walking can wait for next time.
The post signifies a good area for catching flounder, and we see a few people out fishing in their boats.
We watched this fingerling flitting back and forth for ages, mesmerised by it’s quick movements and sharp turns in such a tiny pool..
What a stunning place, Terry and Jan are so lucky to live around here, and Kevin and I are lucky to have visited though the time was so short.

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