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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

A hidden gem, and wow, what a tree

 29th November

 It wasn't good. Staying at a recreation ground had its downfalls. A family arrived in two cars, children piled out, crikey how many were in those cars? They were as good as gold, played nicely all together, had pizza all sitting around the table (great manners) and didn't bother us one bit. On the other hand, off road bikers roared past constantly, cars turned up slamming doors, playing loud music and at one point, when a car pulled up right beside us, I got a bit jittery because the solar blanket was hooked to the outside of the Toy. Ian decided to bring it in and as he was doing it, the guy cleared off. Had he been eyeing up the solar blanket with the idea of grabbing it? Anyway, finally all went quiet until midnight. More cars and vans turned up, I could hear what sounded like rubbish being thrown out, and very loud talking. Horns sounded and finally peace was restored as they zoomed off. My sleep was fitful after that, Ian's only marginally better and in the morning a pile of concrete stones had been deposited nearby. We didn't stay long. Up and away by 8 am.

Lots of roadworks, mainly one just takes care but this time it was traffic light controlled. We seemed to be there forever, nothing coming and then a lone lorry came past. In front of that was a pilot vehicle. He stopped turned around and flashed the lights for us to follow. Gosh never had a personal escort through roadworks before.

And then more road works, this time the cones were being placed.

Had about 140 km to do to reach Dargaville. We decided to stop for coffee at Arai Te Uru lookout and signal station. A bit of history HERE Wow, what a landscape. How many folk stop at the lookout and go no further.



Well they miss all of this,

The place where the signal station used to be.

Back on the road and near to the coast was Northland Forest Park. The oldest Kauri tree has its home here and the one in particular we wanted to see, Tane Mahuta. Okay we had seen the tree back in 2017, I was interested to see if it was still healthy. Kauri die back  could wipe out these magnificent trees and the NZ conservationists are doing their damnedest to protect the forest. What a loss to New Zealand if this tree dies. It's already reputed to be over 2000 years old and should continue to live a very long life if protected from that awful disease. In place are foot cleaning stations going in and out of the forest. You can't bypass this, no other way to get in.

A short walk over a boardwalk and you arrive at a clearing. Wow, I forgot just how impressive this tree was. Got Ian to stand in front hoping to show how wide the trunk was, It doesn't do it justice but think on this. 13.8 mtrs round, stretch out the girth and it's as long as a 45 ft narrow boat!
Some facts.

About 40 km from Dargaville one of those brown information posts pointed to Kai Iwi Lakes. Instantly we both agreed it would be the perfect place to stop for lunch. Crikey, what was that? I think I need my eyesight checked because I'm sure I saw two Ostriches as we travelled along that road, hmm, maybe should also cut down on the vino. We have seen Emu's, both of us as we travelled on the East coast, so why not Ostriches. I believe they make good eating, healthy too, so are they being farmed for Christmas? One hell of a big bird. Try getting that in your oven!! (looked this info up and proves my eyesight is perfect, and I was not inebriated. Apparently they were farmed for the ladies fashion on wanting feathers)

 Lake Taharoa, fabulous place. It has a beach for swimming, the water felt warm, I know because I stuck my hand into it. We were eating lunch and two young girls came over to see us. So chatty, wanted to know if we were going swimming, how long were we in New Zealand for and was amazed at how small the Toy was for living in. Gosh, they were lovely. So far I have found the Kiwi children (and Maori) to be very pleasant and respectful.

At Dargaville we shopped. Found The Warehouse and purchased swim shoes and Ian a new selfie stick. He’s happy now especially as one of the reasons for having it was for when he climbs up the Auckland Sky tower to walk around the outside. (not booked yet but hope to do so soon) I have chickened out. You can see the reason why by clicking this LINK

Stop for tonight was at a low cost camp ground at Clinks Gully. Nobody there apart from a caravan. The lady stepped outside to greet us, not the owners of the site but caretakers. I happened to mention that onions appear to be in short supply, we had been trying for two days to buy a couple. Bless her she went back into the caravan and returned with two for us. The question was asked as to where we had stopped last night.When we said the recreation ground at Kaikohe. She pulled a face. "You never stayed there, did you? she said incredulously? "You're lucky to have come away unscathed!" Hmm, this could be a warning to anyone else looking for a free camping spot. Leave that place well alone. Anyway this site is lovely perched high on the hill overlooking the beach. It has a camp kitchen so good opportunity for Ian's cooking skills to be resurrected. It's going to be chilli and rice. Oh, and it was a reasonable price, just $12.50 each. But if power was wanted, another $12.50 just for that. We decided not to go for power but what we did was to empty the fridge into the camp kitchens fridge so that ours could be switched off, and also used their electric kettle every time we wanted a drink or hot water.

 Weather again is turning horrible. High winds and torrential rain forecast for tonight and to think the New Zealand summer starts on the 1st December. Maybe miraculously it will be all change for the better.

And wildlife,

1 comment:

nbwakahuia.blogspot.com said...

I am very very very pleased you have decided to be sensible, Irene , and not do the Sky walk! Now just talk some sense in to Ian, for heaven's sake!


PS David tells me that the first half of December is forecast to be cold and then summer will appear ...

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