NZ Northeast Coast                                   March 2015


In Australia, few wild caves are readily accessible to the public. In Whangarei, Abbey Caves comprise three small caves, carved by a creek in a limestone hill only 30 minutes drive from the city of Whangarei.  People have broken many stalactites and stalagmites, but apart from that there seems to be little vandalism. The caves are an exciting and beautiful experience.


Anne and I spent hours in the caves. We explored all three, but we spent most time in Middle Cave, the shortest. We also stayed the night at a small backpacker hostel, located right next to the caves. Highly recommended!

Poor Knights Islands

Typical Poor Knights Islands landscape... full of caves and archways, underwater as well as above. Click the image to see a mov movie.


The most beautiful girl in the world!......  I am talking about Ocean Child, of course....

Great Barrier Island

Glenfern Sanctuary, Great Barrier Island, is the site of an ambitious ecological restoration project. The Kotuku Point Peninsula has been isolated by a predator-proof fence, and baiting programs have removed most rats, mice and possums. Over 15,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted. We only found this out after we got lost trying to walk from Karaka Bay to Port Fitzroy. Somehow we missed the 'trampers' trail, and took instead a baiter's trail, which twisted and turned through dense bush. By lunchtime we were within sight of Port Fitzroy (we thought we would be there by lunchtime) so we stopped at a rocky peak (called Tree Peak on some maps). After a long lunch-hour with an amazing view, we took a track which we thought would lead to PF, but instead got lost again. We left a baiter's track to follow a creek-line, luckily emerging at long last onto Glenfern Track (pictured above).  The creek line was not too difficult to walk, as all its vegetation had been cleared in the great storm of June 10, 2014. Two friendly locals drove us home (thank goodness!).


Smokehouse Bay, Great Barrier Island, has several facilities provided by boaties: a smokehouse, clothes washing tubs and wringers, clothes lines, and two baths, one inside and one outside. There is also a small library.



Hot water is provided by a wood-fired water heater.

Conversation at Smokehouse Bay
The scene:  Time: 10pm. All is quiet, just the sound of a Morepork (owl) calling from the forest. No wind, no waves.  Both the stars and the dark shadows of the surrounding hills reflect in the still water. Anne and Jon have just finished watching a movie. Jon goes to the deck to check that all is well.

"Anne, I need your help on deck. Could you come up please?
What is it? Do you need help with the anchor?
No, it's not the anchor
Then what is it?
 .... silence from Jon...  no reply. 
I know! You want help in watching the stars!
You guessed it!
I am clever!"


Little Barrier Island

Little Barrier Island has the usual rugged and beautiful landscape. A nature reserve.

Much of the shoreline of Little Barrier Island was out of reach... too deep. But there were fish in the shallow areas we visited.