The northern part of New Zealand (Northland) is always green, winding and at times incredibly long when travelling by car, but thanks to the stops that awaited us, we were able to admire other unique places in the world.
Waipoua Kauri Forest
Waipoua and the adjacent forests of Mataraua and Waima form the largest remaining part of the original forest in Northland. Most of the forest cover was previously felled due to quality and expensive wood or looted due to the occupation of land for agriculture. The forests are now under the protection of the Ministry of Nature Protection.
Waipoua is home of kauri trees (one of the largest trees in the world). The largest kauri trees reach more than 50 meters and the trunk circumference can be up to 16 meters. Their age is estimated at more than 2,000 years.
The Waipoua Valley has a long history of Maori occupation that continues to this day. Maori people used wood to build ships. The wood was for carving and building houses too. With the arrival of European settlers between the 18th and 19th centuries, these forests were decimated. The sailors used the trunks of young kauri trees for the masts of the ships, and the settlers followed them.
Waipoua is also home of the Tane Mahuta tree, which is called the king of the forest. It is the largest kauri tree on earth with a height of 51.5 meters with a circumference of 13.77 meters. The age is estimated at around 1500 years.
Kauri trees are currently facing a new threat – a fungal disease (kauri dieback). Unfortunately, there is no cure yet to completely cure the disease. The only thing what people can do is to reduce its spread by cleaning their shoes and avoiding tree roots.
Meeting with the Tasman Sea in the Omapere area
The Tasman Sea is a marginal sea in the South Pacific Ocean, lying between Australia and New Zealand. It was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman (the first European has encountered New Zealand and Tasmania).
According to legend, this land was originally discovered by Kupe, a legendary Polynesian explorer who settled in the Omapere area in 925 AD. In the 14th century, the area was inhabited by the Ngapuhi tribe and is considered to be the oldest settlement of the Maori.
A town located at the foot of the Aupouri Peninsula and mostly the last stop for visitors before travelling to Cape Reinga. No wonder the city’s slogan is “Where journeys begin”
In the next article, you can look forward to our trip to Cape Reinga 🙂 (it is no longer possible to go further north!)