Sunday 16th March

When we woke in Paihai the weather had cleared, but still not spectacular, we drove along the coast to take a look at the islands, sad that the weather yesterday had meant we couldn’t get out on the water for a proper explore.

Instead we were off in search of bigger trees than we’d seen yesterday. We stopped off in Opononi for a coffee, discovered the sweet story of Opo the friendly dolphin and visited the Isite.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/death-of-opo-the-friendly-dolphin

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I love NZ for its iSites – like tourist information in the UK but somehow much friendlier, always happy to help and share bits of local knowledge with you. The nice lady told us where to go to find the big trees and a good lookout point to see the sea, storm and damage, so off we set.

Arai-te-uru was the lookout point, the site of an old lighthouse established by a sailor and a Maori lady who’d swum out in a storm to save him and his boat. The lighthouse isn’t there anymore, but some spectacular views remain.

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Then it was time for the biggest tree – Tane Mahuta – a massive kauri tree

A bit like the Albert Ross (say it out loud) from before you can’t get a sense of the scale of the thing even with me as a 5’8 person for scale.

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We could also have visited the oldest kauri tree as well, but it was still raining and we’d seen the biggest…..

So we carried on driving back to Owera where we were staying the night before heading into Auckland in the morning.

Unfortunately we’d managed to pick a really weird hostel – Orewa Backpackers – the man who was there to check us in berated us for not using the phone to call him – we’d literally just stepped through the door, we’d seen neither the sign telling us to do it or the phone! Also he’d clearly been drinking and generally seemed rather odd, if we’d not already paid I’d have left, and I think if I’d have been by myself I’d have done a runner, especially when later he was joined by the owner and they both sat in courtyard drinking and watching what we were all up to.

As it was we went out to the supermarket to get food for dinner and some carrot cake! To distract from the odd men we had coffee and cake and watched the Jungle Book!

Cous cous and veg for dinner before we retired early to the room!

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