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!
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For a sense of the scale of the Kauri tree check out this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tr1stan27/3862220509/
For a picture of little me with a big ole tree!
Yep that’s a big ‘en alright! Impressive that any living thing can get that enormous eh. 14 metres across… Crikey!