Waihi, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand 2017
In November Sophie arrived from Hobart. Ocean Child was resting quietly in the Town Basin Marina at Whangarei.
My "tennis elbow" injury was still causing trouble.
We decided to take the Honda south to the Bay of Plenty to visit friends Wyn and Chris near Tauranga, and Martina and Willy in Auckland.
Wyn and Chris own an orchard north of Tauranga, where they grown macadamia, kiwi-fruit and avocados. Their farm is situated by the shore of a large estuary which extends to the northwest of Tauranga. Tauranga was a rather larger city than I had expected, with a busy industrial port.
Tsunamis, although very rare, present a threat, and education and warning systems are in place. The notice above was situated on the beach-front near Mount Manganui, a small extinct volcano at the entrance to the harbour.
One of the striking features of New Zealand orchard areas is the use of windbreaks like these below. I have never seen anything like this in Australia.
My car... a 1997 Honda 'Logo'
The coastline, away from the shallow estuary, is a mixture of ocean beaches and rocky headlands.
This (below) is a typical view looking east to the Pacific Ocean.
The range of hills to the north of Waihi still retains large areas of native forest, although generally without the trees (especially Kauri) which were harvested for timber. There are many walking tracks, often beside beautiful streams, like this one.
In a few places, kauri remain.
.... and tall ferns, which by Australian standards assume the height of palms rather than ferns.
Waihi, as a town, is conscious of the need to protect the heritage of its mining past. A hundred years ago, major gold mines were constructed, and the surrounding forests striped for firewood. Apparently a tonne of firewood was needed for each ton of ore processed. Many relics remain, which now form Waihi's primary tourist attraction.
Here is a building, once a general store in Waihi, now a beautifully painted residence.
There are many walking tracks through the mining areas. I have always loved ruins...
Ferns adorn an old stone wall.
I loved the many suspension bridges, which have of course been maintained over the years to ensure safe passage.
Many of the original mining shafts have been used as rubbish dumps, and others sealed to prevent access... as you might expect. What did surprise me was that some tunnels have been left open to public access. We followed one tunnel hundreds of metres into the mountain using our phones as torches. This tunnel was in good condition, with only one area obviously recently reinforced.
We took a walk called the Windows Walk, which is a circuit, returning via an impressive gorge.
Before leaving, we bought macadamias from Wyn and Chris's stall at the Tauranga Saturday Farmers Market.