Friday, May 17, 2013

Kaori Trees On A Scenic Saturday In New Zealand

We got a late start today, relaxing over a second pot of coffee before hitting the road.

It rained overnight but not enough to keep us awake and the weather throughout the day was better than we would have expected.

We stopped at the spot where 90-Mile Beach starts before heading south on the coastal route. This involved a ferry ride ($42 for a 20-minute crossing!) and a stop in the Kaori Forest to see the largest Kaori tree in the world.

What are Kaori trees? They happen to be the second largest tree in the world (after the California redwoods) and the one we saw is truly a giant, nearly 170 feet tall and 2000 years old.

The road through this incredibly dense forest - sort of a tropical rain forest) is curvy and hilly even by New Zealand standards. Fortunately, we encountered few other cars, and none of the logging trucks that make travel on some routes something of a white-knuckle experience as we try to stay on our side of the white center line without careening into the ditch.

Tonight, our penultimate evening in New Zealand, we’ve stopped at a pleasant little camping park in the town of Dargaville.

Tomorrow we’ll stop as near as we can to Auckland, in preparation for returning our van Monday morning and hitching a ride to the airport and our seven-hour flight to Perth.

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