Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cathedrals and Kauris

Low tide was at 8:29 this morning.  That means at Hot Water Beach, there is a small strip of area where one can dig a hole in the sand to create your own spa.  Geothermal water from about 4 kilometers below the surface will bubble up into the hole you dug.  The water is at 65C, so you may want to mix in some ocean water to cool it off!  The pheonmena only happens within plus or minus an hour from low tide.  We were there at about 9:15 just eeking it under the window.  It took about 10 minutes from the car park and this is what we found.  Lots of people digging and digging!  Some were even laying in their spas.  We did not have a spade, but checked out an abandoned pit.  It was sea water temp.  Maybe we were there too late.  But isn’t it amazing what people will do on holiday???imageWe headed up one more beach to Hahei Beach to pick up a boat for exploring the coastline.  There is about 14 km of volcanic rock on this coastline that has eroded into beautiful spires, towers and caves.  In fact this is where the Cathedral Cove is located which was used in the filming of Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia. imageHere is a good example of the swirling of lava as it cooled from the volcano.  Couls it have inspired the patterns in the Maori tattoos?image There were not only sea caves, but also arches that we could pass through with the right timing with the tide.imageHere is Cathedral Cove named for this arch.  Look closely for the people.  So now we can say that we’ve been to Narnia!imageAs we got off the boat, we ran into a couple that we had shared a table with at the Te Puis indigenous experience in Rotorua.  It’s funny how you sometimes run into the same people.  We did this on the South Island a lot and were surprised to do so also on the North.  There are just so many more directions to head up here.

From there we headed to a macadamia nut farm.  Have you ever had one straight from the shell???  Oh my those were good.  We bought 100g of them and if this were 4 weeks ago, there would have been 400g in our possession!

The Cormandel Peninsula has also been known for it’s kauri forest.  Kauri is dear to my heart because my harps are made of the ancient kauri.  Those logs fell into the swamps 50,000 years ago.  In more recent history, kauri like many trees were highly prized when humans found New Zealand.  In fact when the Europeans came, 80% of New Zealand was deforested in just 80 years.  Part of it was for the tress themselves, part of it was for creating farmland.  The kauri was sought for it’s straight, tall, strong trunks which made great masts.  Today we were able to walk through a regenerating grove of kauri also with a stand of silver tree ferns.  Do notice James among them.  This is a YOUNG grove.  Kauris readily live to be 500 years old and some are known to be over 1000 years old.  At those ages they will be over 1 meter in diameter.                                                 image image

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Life Looms Large said...

Beautiful pics!!! Love the hot springs beach and all the lava formations and arches.

Those are gorgeous trees! Interesting that New Zealand had similar experiences as New Hampshire tree-wise....many of our trees were used for masts, and the land was clear cut for sheep farming. The sheep boom went bust here pretty quickly though, so the forest has returned.

Have fun!


PS: I couldn't get either of those links to work for some reason.

Jennifer said...

Sue - thanks so much for your comments and folowing everything. You are not the poblem with the links - it's from my end. I've been putting the links on everyday in anticipation of the links working, but the internet connections on the North Island have not worked out as well as the South - So I'venot been able to upload albums as much as I would like. Hopefully by the end of the week, they will all be updated!