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New Zealand – Waipoai forest & Muriwai Beach – 14th/15th November

Leaving our simple DOC campsite we drove towards the Kauri Coast our destination for our four wheeled home was to be Trounson forest DOC which according to the info has hot showers. Whilst on our road-trip for the day we stopped off via Opononi and Omopere to take a look at the huge sand dunes which you can dune surf on if you so desire. We just missed the trip so we decided not to hang around and wait to see if there would be another. Some wandering around on the beach was a windy experience.

Not far from the Trounson DOC site we stopped in Waipoai forest to see New Zealand’s largest tree (a Kauri tree). It’s pretty large with a thick trunk, but when you have seen the redwoods of West Coast America, its hard to get all that excited, sorry New Zealand. We did meet “Pretty Girl” a travelling cockatiel perched on her owner Glen’s shoulder who are both on a 9 month tour of the north island.

After a 16km dirt track/rough road disaster at the DOC camp site, no hot water and a mediocre kitchen! We thought better than to pay $9 each and find somewhere better. We headed back towards the Waipoai Forests information area and located 200m behind is a nice little area for overnight accommodation called Waipoai Campground, from tent pitches to large dorm buildings, bathrooms and kitchen are nice and clean and both had hot water, we parked up and cooked ourselves some dinner. We got chatting to a local logger for an hour or so about all manner of topics from the Rugby World Cup to Hunting in the woods.

After a sunny morning it was time for yet more driving, but this time back towards the ocean and Muriwai Beach via Helensville which has some historic/colonial style buildings. These were few and far between so we decided to wander around the little town along the river towards the local museum. The museum is closed on a Tuesday so we walked around the outside buildings before heading back to where we parked the van for a cold drink and some cake at The Parlour.

Arriving at Muriwai Beach we checked into the Muriwai Beach Motor Camp at $14 each and went for a walk along the black sandy beach to see the Gannets nesting and raising their young. There were thousands of adults and quite a few chicks too. It is quite funny to see the relationships between the monogamous birds when they find each other after a days fishing trip as they greet each other with lots of face/beak rubbing. The campsite is located right next to the beach and has some very good facilities and after dinner we went back to see the sunset and more Gannet watching.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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