Monday, January 21, 2008

New Zealand Road Trip - December 21, 2007 (18)

December 21

Well - it's a road trip so we're "on the road again."

We continued north from Rotorua, heading to Whangarei. This is a Maori name. The Maori pronouce "wh" as "f" - like we pronounce "ph" like "f" so this is pronounced as if it was spelled Fang-are-ee. Craig was quite determined to get as far north as Whangarei because the Watiangi Treaty Grounds is nearby - and he wanted to visit there. More on that on the December 22 post.

For now let's focus on December 21. ...

We stopped here for lunch - Orewa, north of Auckland. Again, a coolish day and this location was very windy. Beautiful, but windy. There were a few people wind surfing. Even in a wetsuit it looked like it would be cold to me! But they were going like stink!


A quick (cold) stop to take a pix - so I took one of Craig.


As was our custom - first things first - secure a place to stay. This we did, then got back in the car to look around. We found Whangarei Falls. So following is a bunch of pix of the falls.

The picturesque waterfall is 26.3 metres high and falls over basalt cliffs. The two viewing platforms above the waterfall give spectacular views of the falls. Traditionally this area was a good eeling spot for the local Maori and around the turn of the century it was known as a popular picnic spot from Whangarei. In the late 1920's Mr Archibald Clapham bought the property, reputedly to prevent the falls being developed as a commercial watermill. In 1946 a local businessmen's association raised the purchase price by public subscription and the property was vested as a public domain. The Hatea River walk leads down from both A H Reed Memorial Kauri Park and Whangarei Falls and is an easy stroll along the river flats. The walk passes through open pasture land, where trees and structures are evidence of early settlers' activities and interests, and through lush bush at the foot of the falls. Track markers with the sign of the eel (tuna) guide visitors along the route and over the swing bridge.


Where in North America would you see a bridge over a river, near a waterfall, with no railings or other safety features?

This is how close it is to the falls. In fact, while we were there, a guy walked right up to the edge of the falls on the rocks there. Good for him - but I don't think he'd have had the opportunity here!

This tree reminds me of the "whomping willow" in Harry Potter.

OK - so enough of the falls already. That's it for December 21! See you tomorrow!

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