Where two next?

Antipodean travelogue through the eyes of two - one textile and one building lover. It'll be hard to differentiate the two!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bay of Islands (3) Part 2

We had ambitious plans for our trip to Northland which including a trip to Cape Reinga (30) , Ninety Mile Beach and the Waipoua Kauri Forests (23) . We got as far as Kerikeri! This was partly due to general laziness and mostly due to the weather.

We decided to stay relatively local to the Bay of Islands and visited Waitangi and Kerikeri instead.

We visited the Stone Store and the Mission House in Kerikeri which are the oldest stone and timber buildings in NZ and were built around the 1820's. They were both interesting and cleverly done and if you have any interest in knowing more about how people lived during that era then it is well worth a trip. Here's a pic from the car park at the other side of the Kerikeri River looking back towards the Store and the Mission House and a couple of pics of the individual buildings.

After Kerikeri we called into the Waitangi National Reserve (85) and visitor centre. The historical treaty between the Crown and the Maori people was signed here in 1840. On the way from the visitor centre to the Treaty House you pass by the 35m Maori War Canoe called Ngatokimatawhaorua which was built to mark the centenary of the 1840 treaty. It is named after the canoe in which the legendary Polynesian navigator Kupe discovered NZ. Here's some pics.

After the war canoe you reach the Treaty House and the whare runanga (meeting house). The meeting house was build to celebrate the centenary also. Here's some pics.

The remainder of our time in Northland was literally a wash out. Out of desperation for something to do I suggested we go visit a glow worm cave about one kilometre south of Kawakawa. I reckoned that you couldn't get wet in a cave and was very pleased with myself until we got there. Here's a few pics of the access lane to the caves.

Needless to say we didn't risk it and returned back to Russell.

Northland has experienced its own fair share of flooding recently and the weather for our last two days was appalling. Having said that the weather and the flooding is uncharacteristic for the area generally.

On a separate note, someone kindly let me know that there is a link to this blog site on the Bay of Islands Community Site. Knowing that I might have a few more readers with a particular interest in the area I made a mental note to keep any criticism I had to myself! However I have to say that the food experiences we had generally in Northland were poor. Poor to the point where the last two nights we just didn't bother going out but stayed in and cooked instead. I even got a mild case of food poisoning and to pre-empt any potentially smart comments, it was before we decided to eat in!

We had the worst, and I mean the worst, pizza ever in Paihia. Someone had the audacity to get a piece of cardboard cut it into a circular shape and put cheap, sickly sweet, processed pizza spread on top, call it a pizza and charge $15 for it. It was disgraceful and we just left it behind us more or less untouched. I was going to complain about it but decided that anyone who could serve something that bad obviously just doesn't care and it would have a been a waste of my time.

There were other memorable, but unfortunately not in a good way, restaurant experiences during our stay. I even checked the internet for places to eat. I got two hits for Russell and both places, which got pretty good reviews, were closed. I can only assume that things are better during the high season and what we experienced was as a result of the sheer lack of demand at this time of year. If there's some really nice restaurants, like Fleurs Place in Moeraki Village, that we kept missing someone might let us know!

Wellington might not get the weather that Northland can boast, but it can boast the better restaurants. We had a fabulous meal in Pravda the night of our return and it wasn't the first and will not be the last!

Coming up in the next posts. How Sharon and I are planning on travelling back in time and cork V screw cap wines, the truth revealed!

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