Little trip north

Well after the Easter rally I have sat on Mel’s path and it has been cold.  I have had the fire going most mornings and sometimes at night.  The bus does get cosy but I find the fire eats wood.  If you try to bank it up at night and close the flu and vents right down it will keep going for quite some time but I Have not managed to get it to go through night.  Think it is a timing thing.  If I went to bed later and banked it up, then maybe it would still be lit in the morning.  Have also discovered that if the wood is too big in section it tends to smoulder rather than burn with a bright flame.  Seems 50mm cross-section give the best fire and with that you can boil a kettle or cook on top of the stove.

Anyway it is slowly dawning on me that I have not much time left as I fly to Dubai on the 30th and then Cyprus and UK later in May.  There are things to do and stuff to be, put to bed.  The bus is almost self-sufficient, guess it is just dumping the grey water and taking on fresh water every 4 or 5 days.  Getting rid of rubbish is also a headache.  The Kiwi’s are big in to recycling, so there are bins everywhere marked up for cans, bottles, plastic and paper but nothing for general rubbish.  Each district council seems to have its own system so when you are traveling it is hard to get rid of stuff.  I have asked a few fellow travellers but they seem to avoid the subject or manoeuvre around it.

With this in mind I decided to take may last trip before I set of for the Mediterranean summer.  I decided to head north as it is supposed to be warmer up there.  We set off on Sunday morning around 11 with no particular place in mind.  I had roughed out a route taking the H1 and then the H12 this would take me through the Waipoua Forest, home to Tane Mahuta, a giant Kauri tree.  These trees used to make up large sections of the New Zealand bush but have been cut down almost to extinction.  This area is trying to save the few that do still exist.

With no plan in mind we drove until we were on H12 and then decided to look for somewhere to park for the night.  This ended up being at Ruawai on the mouth of the Waioa river.  A nice level spot right on the river’s edge with public toilets.  So all good there.  Guess it must have been 3 ish by the time we had parked, so took the cats for a walk and sat out for a bit with a coffee.  Later about 6 ish I thought I would take a walk in to town, maybe have a pint or two and a bag of chips (fries).  The place was closed so back to the bus for a fry up and an early night.  Cats are up early so we were walking around in the wet grass at 05:30 this morning.  The idea was I would then go back to bed for an hour or so, but first would light the fire.  This did not go to plan.  The matches I had bought were hopeless.  If you did not get them to strike first time then there was no way they would strike at all.  I had forgotten to buy fire lighters and had no kindling left.  So after a few failed attempts I decided to whittle some feathers and start again.  This worked but now I was wide awake, so kettle on and coffee made.  I am glad I did not go back to bed as I got the camera out and went for a stroll.  What a beautiful morning.

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“Stormy petrel on a stick”
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Full English

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Put the ground anchor in and fastened the cats to it.  This allowed me to have the door open and get in and out of the bus without worrying about them escaping.  BBQ set up on the drop down table outside and full English knocked up and eaten al fresco.

Decided today we would go and see Tane Mauta and set off with this in mind.  I had toyed with the idea of staying at Lake Iwi as there are a couple of camp sites there but we pushed on through heading for the forest.  Eventually we got to the Waipoua Forest camp site and booked in.  It was then I discovered that the big tree is another 12 kilometres away but too late to do much about that he will have to wait until tomorrow.

Bit of a disaster waiting for me.  Backing in to the parking bay I missed judged the space and backed in to a large cabbage tree.  This has broken the rear light, cracked the rear window and bent the back panel.  Not happy but my own fault.  Sooner I get the reversing camera installed the better.  There are still fragments of lens embedded in the tree.  Guess this will grow over and in thousands of years time, someone will discover, bits of a red plastic lens in the fossilised tree and make up some plausible assumption about the incident.

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Well the plan was to do steak on the BBQ last night.  It had been a lovely day, sunny and warm but around 5 it started to rain.  Nothing major at first just those big spots that miss you and that was so hard the gutters on the bus could not cope and the water was running straight down the windows.  Typical NZ weather though cleared up almost as quick but it was now dark so that was the steak out of the window.  Plan B, butter chicken and very nice it was too.

The camp ground was in the forest and it was really nice to have a mooch through the trees and follow the trail to the river.  I could imagine when the land was covered in this thick forest and the early settlers came on the promise of free land, only to find the plots were in the middle of nowhere and had to be cleared before you could build or farm.  Must have been hard

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New Zealand icon in the flesh

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I guess you don’t realise how much light pollution there is until you are in a forest and there is no ambient light.  It was dark last night, pitch black.  So much so, the cats slept in until 6:30 so walkies, was just as dawn was breaking.  This at least got me up early and full English on the BBQ before setting off to visit Tane Mauta.  It was a long 10 kilometres as it was up hill most of the way but a pretty impressive tree. Hard to imagine that there would have been a stand of similar sized trees when the settlers first started logging.

http://epod.usra.edu/blog/2011/09/new-zealands-tane-mahuta-lord-of-the-forest.html

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Tane Mauta

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So that done I had no plans for the rest of the day except head for H 1 and get somewhere pointing towards home.  Some nice spots on the way.  Could live here.

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Eventually ended up in  Whangarei right down on the riverside.  The council had obviously thought of us poor Movanners and had set up parking close to the river and the city centre.  Wish more councils would do that.

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Te Matau a Pohe bridge
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Town Basin

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Spent two nights in Whangarei and had a good Segway around.  Very good clock museum there and a art exhibition by Billy Apple.  Bit of a con artist me thinks.  I was stopped at the Strand shopping precinct and told that coz I had wheels I could not bring the Segway in, so locked it up at a bike rack.  Considering it is a pedestrian area and that there are lots of tourists with bikes I would have thought there would be many more places to lock your bike up.  I could only find one.  I managed to squeeze the Segway in between two bikes but when I cam back a third bike had appeared.  He must have lifted it in place as there was no way he could have pushed it in between my Segway and the rail.  I had to skull drag the Segway out.  Most inconsiderate.  Typical cyclist, bet he rides two abreast and wobbles all over the place when you are trying to pass him in a car. And he will have a helmet cam just so he can prove it was your fault.

Early doors this morning and back to Pukekohe for 11.  Now need to de commission the bus ready for me departure to Cyprus.

Dunk

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