WhangareiJuly 16, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C
It was a chilly first night in the van so we didn't get the best nights sleep. We will need to be more prepared tonight with hot water bottles and blankets. Despite the cold we slept in till nearly 8am. For breakfast we had porridge and honey. We did have to warm up the honey before we could use it as it was solid due to the cold. Eric also popped in with some oranges which was very sweet.
The Lonely Planet mentioned that there were some good walks around Whangarei as well as some free caves were you could see glow worms. We therefore set off to the tourist information centre to pick up some guides. The lovely lady gave us a variety of trail maps around the area as well as some information on the caves. She did say though that when there has been a lot of rain (and there has been a ridiculous amount of rain) that the caves are flooded and will be waist deep so prepared to get wet. Now I'm not afraid of a bit of water but waist deep seems a little excessive so we decided against seeing the glow worms! Instead we opted for the Hatea River Walk to Whangarei Falls.
We parked up in the town centre and made ourselves a packed lunch before heading off. The walk took us along a short boardwalk through some mangroves and then into Parihaka Forest. It was a really beautiful walk through the forest alongside the river. We also passed through AH Reed Memorial Park which is a remnant of the original kauri forests. The kauri trees are absolutely enormous and some are 500 years old. You walk through the park on a canopy walkway to protect the kauri trees as many of them are getting sick. To help prevent the spread of bacteria which they pick up in their shallow roots, you also have to clean and spray your boots on entering and exiting any forest areas.
After the forest we continued on along the river until we reached the waterfall which looked beautiful in the sunshine. The weather today has been amazing. The sun has shone all day and we were very comfortable in just a t shirt and jeans.
After the falls we headed back to the van via the same route and popped on the kettle for a cup of tea. I love taking our home with us wherever we go as it means I can make a cup of tea whenever I like (and after 3 months in South America with no tea, it's a lot!)
We decided to head back to stay at the same spot as we did last night. It's cheap for a powered site and the owners are lovely. We arrived back to Eric washing his boat after a day of fishing and he was keen to show us the snappers he had caught. Later on he even knocked on the van and invited us over for some brandy. I'm not really a brandy drinker but I had a small glass to be polite whilst Eric told us all about his fishing escapades. He is very sweet but boy can he talk, bless him. After we'd made our escape, we cooked up a campervan classic of bangers, beans and mash!Read more