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Day 4 – Bay of Islands

October 19, 2012

Well what a stormy night we had – torrential rain and rather high winds. However, we had a comfortable nights sleep and woke to dray weather. We had an early start (8am) to our travels as we were heading north-east through top of the North Island to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The drive was spectacular as we drove through Waipoua Forest , first weaving our way up steep winding roads then down into a valley then climbing again before dropping down into a plain. Then as we turned a corner we were confronted with a breath taking view of where land meets the estuary leading from the Tasman Sea.  

Our journey took us along the banks of the estuary for a few miles before heading off across country. One thing we have noticed is that you can be driving for some distance without seeing many other cars on the road, makes for pleasant driving. We reached Waitangi just before lunch time. The Treaty Ground is where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in Feb 1840. The estate was purchased by Lord and Lady Bledisloe who gave it to the people of NZ. If you are interested you can read more about this great NZ treasure at http://www.waitangi.net.nz.

 

We had a fabulous time walking around the grounds which contains the Treaty House, Whare Runanga (a Maori meeting house which is unique as it was planned to be shared by all the Maori Tribes).

 

 

We also saw a Maori Waka which is largest canoe of it’s type in the world and requires 120 paddlers. The canoe is made of three massive kauri trees and is a larger version of the waka’s that would have carried raiding parties on the lonbg coastal voyages before and after the first European settlers arrived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our day ended with a relatively short drive (120km) to Awanui which is going to be our resting place for the next couple of nights as tomorrow we are going on the Cape Reigna coach tour which will take us to the tip of NZ and then drive back down 90ml beach (which incidently is only 60mls long!!!)

Looking forward to a restful evening in the late sunshine which is most enjoyable.

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