I was eager to get into the jungle after the epically long ’90 mile beach’. I’d been pretty excited on the approach up the hill to see how the forest trees and kauri were mixed in with giant ferns and palm trees of all sorts. Proper jungle! I have a bit of a thing about palm trees having grown up in Cornwall. And this didn’t disappoint, stuffed full of cordyline australis, vines, tree ferns and even date palms, paired with exotic sounding bird calls. Woohoo tropical!
A leisurely 5 mile road walk out of town ended abruptly when we entered the Herekino Forest, it felt like we stumbled into Apocalypse Now / Vietnam jungle rather than a ‘forest’. It’s nothing like forest walks back home, in fact it was more like doing an assault course than going for a walk!
Very beautiful though, and really interesting as just about everything growing is totally new and fascinating to me.
Kauri. They’re big buggers and no mistake. Alan our tour guide on the bus to the cape had told us how in ancient times NZ’s northland was covered in Kauri but a super tsumami had come and all but wiped them out. Many of these giant trees were upturned and driven meters underground into the sand and perfectly preserved for thousands of years – and at the turn if the 19/20th century the kauri gum ‘gold rush’ had begun. Thousands of gum diggers dug the land for decades, selling the gum, wearing rubber boots, giving rise to the term ‘gumboots’ apparently…. ( Or something like that ).. Alan was our walking kiwi wikipedia ;)
Earlier in the trip we’d walked up an ample sized spiral staircase hollowed out within a single slice of kauri trunk. And the structure, whilst scooped out was strong enough to hold up the second floor a building. So that might give you a sense of how large these monsters can get. Very impressive! And no doubt the inspiration for those tree fellas in Lord of the Rings.
Saw our first Kauri trees today, well other than the ones being cut up and turned into coffee tables at the Kauri tree workshop on our tour to Cape Reinga. Truly amazing to see them in the forest, so massive & enormous can’t even get it all in-frame on a wide angle 16mm lens. Each one of those branches at the top is as thick as a normal tree trunk!
This is the tree was here when the fella we met’s great grandfather was here. He used to camp under it as a boy. Our man was even silver haired so I imagine this tree is probably a ripe old age by now having four generations sit under it. Love it’s twisted multi-strand trunk. Feels like something from a Sleep Hollow.
We’re not entirely sure what kind of tree this is, but after a bit of googling, we think it might be something like a Pohutukawas Tree? Anyhow, it’s a cool gnarly old tree that clings to the coast round here. This one in Helena Bay was a pretty epic example.
We’ve been trying out some black and white shots and portraits. Here’s a shot of a particularly interesting Pohutakawaa. You get some real old ones out along these Coastal paths and the cliffs. Seems like they love a bit of salty sea spray.
Weren’t sure where we were going to stay tonight. As it’s all private farm land for miles up to the trail. But then as the sun was starting to dip we spotted some soft green grass by a stream and decided to pitch up and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. “Pass me a Tui’s Cookie!”
As we walked along Kahuterawa Road we passed a reserve with a tent pitched up, ‘that looks like a good idea’ we thought and promptly ended our day earlier than planned (and tucked into the beer we had left over from our rest day in Palmy). Got a feeling it might be a popular dogging spot by the amount of traffic the car park received when the sun went down..