Calves, Kauris and Cape Reigna

Authored By Jennifer

We headed up north to visit another of Brian’s distant relatives, Anne and Phil Herbert. They raise calves on a 150 acre farm near the Bay of Islands, and they invited us to stay for a couple of days. On the way to Anne’s house, we drove through the Waipoua Forest and learned all about the Kauri tree, a native tree that would be equivalent to the Redwoods of Northern California. Kiwis are obsessed about Kauri trees. They’re nice looking, and the wood is very pretty when made into consumer products (the Ancient Kauri Kingdom has everything known to man made out of Kauri wood) but I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Ask any Kiwi, they’ll spot a Kauri a mile away and give you the complete history of the tree. I appreciate their pride.

Anyway, we finally made it to Anne and Phil’s house and their property, considered small in this area, is absolutely beautiful. Green rolling hills everywhere you look. Here’s a picture of their property looking out the living room window. Anne and Phil were very gracious hosts. Anne made breakfast and “tea” (dinner) for us every day. And since Brian and I were both still sick, it was nice to be somewhere that felt like home.

One day we drove out to the Bay of Islands and toured the small town of Paihia. Very touristy, but it’s the launching point for the bay that has several islands dotted amongst it (hence the name). We wanted to do a cruise, but the 4 hour tour did not sound like fun for two sickies. Instead we took the 5 minute ferry across the bay to Russel. We walked around the small town, checked out the museum and played with some ducks. That’s about all we could handle.

The following day we decided to really do something crazy and join a bus tour of Cape Reigna, at the very top of the North Island and the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. It turned out to be our first sunny day and the tour was actually a lot better than we expected. We had a great guide that stopped in a bunch of spots that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. At Houhora Harbor we saw a white sand beach that is actually made of silica. It feels like flour when you pick it up and it practically blinds you if you’re not wearing sunglasses. We stopped at the light house at Cape Reigna and we were blown away by the views. After a stop for lunch, the bus drove up the Te Paki creek. The thing about the creek is that it’s filled with quick sand. So the bus can’t stop in running water or wet sand or it’ll be stuck. Luckily we had no problems. Half way down the creek are huge sand dunes, which we took a couple of turns tobogganing down. Check me out! And finally the bus drove down 90 Mile Beach. It’s actually only 64 miles, but close enough. It’s also very easy to get stuck on the beach and we saw the top of car that was buried in the sand. Apparently some tourists miscalculated the tide coming in.

It was an absolutely beautiful day and the first time we actually had some fun on our trip. Plus I think I’m finally getting over my cold. Sounds like Brian has a couple of days left, but at least my two weeks of suffering are over. You can find more pictures from our Bay of Island trip here.

Here are some fun facts about New Zealand that I’ve picked up along the way. Thought you all might be interested:

  • As mentioned above, Kiwis love their Kauri tree
  • NZ (pronounced N Zed) was inhabited only 1,000 years ago by Maoris who arrived by canoe from the South Pacific Islands and 400 years ago by Europeans. As a result, NZ is one of the world’s youngest countries.
  • Christchurch, NZ is the first stop for 70% of the trips to Antarctica. Hop on a 5 ½ hour flight, and you’re there. We stopped in for a tour of the International Antarctic Center and weathered a simulated -10 degree F storm. Brrrrr!
  • The Pohutakawa is considered the NZ Christmas tree. It blooms red flowers right around Christmas time.
  • The UV rays over NZ are some of the strongest inthe world. You can get a sunburn after spending only 10 minutes in the sun. Trust us, this is true!

One Response to “Calves, Kauris and Cape Reigna”

  1. Brian Says:

    Hello Brian and Jennifer,
    Pleased to see that you are now well and enjoying your trip. Hope you get to try white water rafting. We would have loved to try that when we were a little younger but we feel the cold too much now. Bungi is not something we want to do. Hope you have a very happy Christmas.
    Phil and Anne