Dec 31

Day 8: Opononi, Omapere, Waipoua Kauri Forest

by in New Zealand Travel, Sightseeing NZ

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It was the last day of our northern journey and were homeward bound to Auckland. Checked out of the Outrigger Motel at around 9:30 am.

The first stop was petrol at NZ$1.999 in Paihia. The tank was more than half full and it took $60 worth to fill up. By the time we reached Auckland, the tank was less than half full. Like all Toyotas we have owned, the Aurion’s fuel gauge is slow to move but as it nears empty, the needle seems to move faster.

We stopped for coffee at Opononi, made famous by Opo the dolphin who played with children at the beach in the summer of 1955-1956 and died mysteriously in March 1956.



Statue of a child playing with Opo the dolphin, Opononi

Rum ad

"Helping White Men Dance Since 1835" - weird slogan for some rum

Omapere is just around the bend and seems to be joined to Opononi. Ash had been here in 1974 and has a picture of himself with the bay below him. We went to the only lookout we could find, but although the views were great, it wasn’t the same place.



View from lookout near Omapere, Northland

There was zero mobile phone coverage in these towns, so it was difficult to check in with Foursquare. How do the locals cope? Their teens must find other ways to communicate, perhaps face-to-face? :)

We stopped at Waipoua Kauri Forest to see the largest surviving kauri tree, Tane Mahuta – the Lord of the Forest. A plaque reads:

You are in the presence of one of the most ancient of trees.

In Maori Cosmology, Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane tore his parents apart, breaking their primal embrace, to bring light, space, and air and allowing life to flourish.

Tane is the life giver. All living creatures are his children. This is the largest living kauri tree in New Zealand. It is difficult to accurately estimate the age of Tane Mahuta, but it may be that Tane Mahuta sprang from seed around 2000 years ago during the lifetime of Christ.

The dimensions of Tane Mahuta are:

Trunk height 17.7 metres. Total height 51.5 metres.

Trunk girth 13.8 metres. Trunk volume 244.5 metres.


kauri tree

Tane Mahuta, Waipoua Kauri Forest

We reached Auckland around 4:15 pm and since this was our last night here, we wanted to see at least one sight. At Auckland Museum (the war memorial), we checked out the names of Lesley’s two granduncles who had died off the coast at Gallipoli (Turkey) and France in WW1 and a few highlights before the museum closed at 5 pm.


Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum and the cenotaph

Names of war dead

The Liddington brothers - Lesley's grand uncles who died in the Great War

Locals (Aucklanders) can enter for free; the rest are encouraged to make a donation. We gave $5 as the ticket seller pointed out that we had very little time to see the place.

Yes, if you noticed the photo of the museum above, sunny, blue sky in Auckland, whereas we had rain up north until this morning. It’s New Year’s Eve tonight and more driving tomorrow.

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