Matakohe – Paihai, NZ: Adventure Day

Another relaxing morning in the rain. The kids were up at 7am like usual. So we gave them some school work on the iPad and phone while Ty and I read in bed. Vacation luxuries! Ty did some chores on the RV before we left camp. (The grey water was starting to flood our bathroom floor. 🤢) So all things gross got dumped. Then we were on our way to see the big Kauri trees in person!

We stopped in Dargaville for a snack and a ship playground, Ty had read about. The wood was really slick and of course L cracked himself a few times.

We drove another hour or so to the site of the Four Sisters and Te Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest) The Four Sisters is a grouping of 4 large Kauri trees. The Father of the Forest is one of the widest base Kauri at 53ft 10in in girth! It’s incredible and doesn’t come across in the photos.

We then stopped at Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), which is over 2,000 years old. Trunk girth is 45ft 3in and a total height of 169 ft.

Had to include the last one even though it’s blurry! It was such a privilege to be able to witness these amazing trees. Even as we were walking these jungle paths in the rain. I hope my kids remember these moments.

We plugged them into another audiobook, (The Fancy Nancy 4 hour collection!) and headed off down the road for Paihai. We arrived late afternoon at a cheap but great RV site with unlimited WiFi. After talking with a few five companies, the loose plan is to go out on a boat on Thursday. Ty will scuba. The kids and I will hopefully snorkel.

We walked down to the beach. The kids collected innumerable precious shells. Played on yet another playground. Before we headed back to the RV at sunset to make dinner.

We like this spot and have a few free days in our schedule. So we may actually stay put for a few days. We shall see…

Waiwera – Matakohe, NZ: Adventure Day

The rain was pouring down again last night, and off and on this morning. We couldn’t really do any of the hikes in the rain so we had another leisurely morning. We didn’t leave the site till after ten.

Ty had read about a neat walk along a river with some suspension bridges. So we attempted to go for that, but ended up at some old gold mining site thanks to faulty GPS. It was raining hard but we dressed the kids up in their rain gear and crocs. However, Ty and I had only our very lightweight rain coats. But we were determined to get outside! R was miserable immediately however, L loved it! Stomping in every puddle he could. We walked up the trail past the old mining equipment to the museum and a promise of a cafe, with hopefully hot cocoa. Instead we found a closed building. We opened the one door since we saw cars there but the employee didn’t seem to want to let us in. So he directed us up the hill to see the old kilns. Which we dutifully did. It wasn’t of much interest to any of us though. So we slogged back to the RV. Drove five minutes further down the road and saw Ty’s original hiking trail. 🙄 We decided we probably wouldn’t get the kids back into their wet gear though, so we drove on.

We plugged the kids into an audiobook and hit the road.

We stopped in Maungaturoto at a little cafe for lunch, and a bubble blowing break.

Then we continued on to the Kauri Museum in Matakohe. This place was recommended to us by two separate people back home. Now we understand why! Only 4% of these ancient trees remain. The oldest of these remaining trees is 3,000 years old! Hear trees were severely harvested for their sap (gum) and for their wood quality. It’s depressing to think on how these trees were decimated by man in the 1800’s. The remaining trees are now being threatened by the Kauri dieback disease.

This photo blows me away, the large rings are the diameters of the largest of the Kauri trees. So immense!

Ty standing next to a slice from a small tree.

After trying to take as much time as the kids would allow in this extensive museum, we decided to call it an early day and camped at an RV park literally up the road from the museum. Instead of driving hours and arriving after dark like we have for the past few night.

We were the only ones in the RV park. She hadn’t had any guests in days. The kids loved the play area, even in the rain.

We were able to do some laundry finally. Little boys are so hard on clothes! We spent the evening in the kitchen lounge area. It was pouring outside but we set the kids up with the iPad, while Ty and I caught up on HGTV. 😄 We cooked a pizza and a meat pie in the oven, along with some popcorn. It was nice to get out of the RV for a bit.

Mt. Maunganui – Auckland – Waiwera, NZ: Adventure Day

During the nights the floodgates opened. It was raining sheets and sheets. I knew we had parked by a lake and felt silly asking Ty but wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to flood. We just don’t get rain like this in Alaska! By the morning it was hit and miss, fine for 10 minutes, then downpour for 5. So the big hike we had planned for Mt. Maunganui, we scrapped. We decided to drive north and go through Auckland. There weren’t any good RV places near the big city.

We also started the day with cake and singing for breakfast. We ran out of time the night before on R’s actual birthday.

Basing our decision off a penguin brochure one of the kids had grabbed at the airport, we decided to try Kelly Tarlton’s SeaLife in Auckland. Looking for some indoor entertainment due to the poor weather. It was PACKED! Everyone else must have had the same plan. It was quite expensive too! Almost $150 for all four of us. It was neat and there were some good exhibits, but I cant say it’s worth the price. The penguin display was fun to see and L loved the sea turtle rescue area. He’s obsessed with sea turtles.

From there we drove to the nearest Countdown supermarket for groceries. Picked up some ok Chinese food right next door. Then we hightailed it north of Auckland. We made it to the Wenderholm CSC parking area to camp. This is just outside Waiwera. The gates close this parking area, locking you in or out at 7pm. Thankfully we made it by 6:30. We found a stretch of grass to park, in the pitch dark and settled in for the night with celebratory popsicles.