Leaving Kerikeri, we visited New Zealand’s oldest building – Kemp House (1821). Beside it was the oldest Stone Store (1832). Its significance is where the Maori first met missionaries and history was changed forever.
The different types of flowers that escorted us up the road were just spectacular. The bottle brush was easy to distinguish; the spikey looking mohawk one, no idea. Leaving suburbia, Clydesdale horses shared accommodation with sheep on pastures green. The tropical climate threatened moisture from above, but not until we went off road again into the Waitangi Forest.
Thank goodness for GPS. A diversion had us going in a spinning compass dial and the undulation sometimes took us above the tree line to see more trees. Fantails squeaked as they darted about just above the heads and the punga ferns with huge fronds fanned the canopy somewhat.
Not enough though when it started to persist down. Torrential. But we were snug under our jackets and with covers over out packs, we trudged on. We exited the forest near Mount Bledisloe and on top of the hill was a map dial. Worth going off the beaten track for a squiz even though the rain mist still clouded the distance.
We found the road down into Waitangi passing the grounds where the British and Natives signed the Treaty. Everything was shut up as by now we were way passed our finishing time. We found a bed (Capt’n Bobs Beach House Backpackers) versus set up in the rain and shed the back pack just on quarter past seven in the evening. Having left Kerikeri at 9.30am, it was kind of a longish day.
The view of the Bay of Islands (first discovered by Captain Cook in 1769) from the dorm room was stunning and the waves making shore could be heard. The bunk bed in the same room with a couple of lads was a whole new experience. The stench from shoes unbearable but we knew being exhausted would put us into unconsciousness quick.
Plus, you can’t smell when you breath through your mouth!