Heading north for a holiday – Whangarei to Kerikeri and back

The rest of our Summer holiday was in the end largely defined by the weather. We had Christmas in Whangarei and spent the time with Keryn’s parents and family relaxing and enjoying good food and company. I’m still getting used to the view now the pine forest next door has been cut down (replanting has taken place, so it 20 years it’ll all be forest again).

QuailPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A quail checking out the garden.

Evening light on the hillsPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The evening view next door to the Bainbridge homestead.

From Whangarei we headed north to Kerikeri and pitched our tent at the Top 10 holiday park. Over the next few days we explored Kerikeri and the surrounding area. There was a short walk following the Kerikeri river from Rainbow Falls, watching a bunch of guys swimming up to the falls, climbing out to walk behind the waterfall and then gingerly climbing down to swim back.

Rainbow FallsPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Rainbow Falls.

Swimming throughPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Swimming through the falls.

We drove out to Aroha Island but visited on the wrong afternoon. Is was cool, overcast and windy at high tide and the wildlife on and around the island was do a good job of hiding. Aroha Island did look like a nice place to stay for a while, and I think we’d get more out of a longer stay, camping with the resident kiwi wandering around at night.

Fantail fledglingsPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Aroha Island fantails.

Heading inland we took a couple of short walks in the Manginangina Scenic Reserve, getting a taste of majestic native Kauri groves. There was more wildlife to see here and I spotted a tomtit so quickly had the camera out (as quick as I could manage with swapping lenses anyway) only for the tomtit to fly off. Keryn spotted a well camouflaged moth further along the track so I spent time getting shots of this nearly motionless creature living life dangerously in the middle of the path.

KauriPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Our first walk amongst Kauri.

Rata vinesPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Rata vines.

SilvereyePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

An inquisitive silvereye.

New Zealand MothPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

An interesting moth.

The weather forecast for the coming days was looking terrible so we pulled the plug on staying near the Hokianga Harbour, instead taking along loop from Kerikeri up to the harbour and back via Waipoua Forest and Baylys Beach. Our first walk of the day was at Wairere Boulders where we had a good ramble for a few hours. The valley is filled with giant boulders seeming to flow down from the hills, like someone blew up a mountain. We found lots of tomtits and I finally got the chance to get some good shots as we watched a fledgling being fed by busy parents. There was also a shining cuckoo being fed by a tiny grey warbler, too far away for a decent photo but visible enough that we could point it out to some other visitors trudging along the track.

On the boulder walkwayPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

On the Wairere Boulder walk.

Tomtit (male)Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One of the many tomtit we saw.

Twisted and pittedPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Eroded rock patterns.

Hokianga Harbour headlandsPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Hokianga Harbour headlands.

Being a mostly nice day in a holiday period there were lots of people around, especially as we walked to see Tane Mahuta and then Te Matua Ngahere. The sheer girth of Te Matua Ngahere makes it more impressive than Tane Mahuta, and the 20 minute walk also puts off most of the crowds. The kauri here do make you feel small, their massive trunks shooting skyward to dwarf everything around.

Tane MahutaPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Spying on Tane Mahuta.

Te Matua NgaherePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Te Matua Ngahere.

As the weather started coming in we had one last diversion to the wild coast of Baylys Beach before heading back to Whangarei and the rain finally caught up with us on the road. We were grateful to be under a roof rather than a tent as the rain settled in for the next few days.

Baylys BeachPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Baylys Beach.
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