Starting Point: Russell
Ending Point: Whatuwhiwhi on the KariKari Peninsula
Number of Stops Along the Way: 10
Kilometers traveled: 167
Today we started off our morning in Russell, visiting what they claimed was the oldest church in New Zealand, built in 1836. Then we headed further North. We stopped at both Matauwhi and Orongo Bays, and drove through Okiato, which was the first capitol of New Zealand, on our way to the ferry crossing at Opua.
We took the ferry at Opua and it turned out the same guy who captained our passenger ferry yesterday was the captain on the vehicle ferry today. He recognized us and invited us up to the bridge for the short trip across the bay. We listened to AC/DC during the crossing, and Kyle climbed up on the roof of the bridge to take some pictures.
From there we drove through Pahia and Waitangi (where we spent yesterday morning). We stopped off at the Waitangi Treaty House grounds, hoping to get a shot of the Treaty House. But no such luck…it is tucked away behind the visitor center, and it’s $25 pp to go in and see it. We were too cheap to pay, so we didn’t get to see the treaty signed by the Maori and the British, making New Zealand a colony.
Next stop of the day was Kerikeri, site of one of the original missions. The Church Mission Society sent a lot of missionaries to New Zealand in the early 1800s, to teach the Maori and try to convert as many of them as possible to the Anglican church. One of the earliest missions was founded at Kororipo peninsula, where missionaries signed one of the first contracts with 2 Maori chiefs. The Maori guaranteed the missionaries land and protection, as they were interested in trade with the missionaries, particularly muskets. The mission was built across the river from the Maori village. We were able to see the Stone Store, Kemp House (home of the priest, Jack Kemp), and the original Anglican Church (which has a date earlier than the one in Russell, which is supposed to be the oldest). We also toured Rewa’s Village, a replica of a Kainga (an unfortified Maori village). After wandering all over the park, we had a picnic snack in the Kerikeri Basin Recreational Reserve and then hit the road.
In keeping with trying to picnic at beaches on this leg of the trip, we stopped off at Taupo Bay for lunch. We watched a grandfather and his grandson digging in the sand and exploring the beach and rocks, we fed a wounded seagull crackers, and we saw a campervan with the Incredible Hulk on the side of it (Wicked Campers puts superheroes on the side of their campervans…so far we have seen Thor and the Hulk).
From there we headed on into Mangonui to make a phone call and do a bit of grocery shopping at 4 Square, and then headed on to Coopers Beach for gas, and then made our final drive out onto the Karikari Peninsula to our holiday park at Whatuwhiwhi. It was Cobb Salad for dinner with apples sautéed in amaretto & butter served over yogurt with ANZAC cookie crumbles for dessert. The lady in the kitchen cooking dinner had some serious food envy as she watched us while cooking her pasta and jarred sauce. Did we mention how awesome the kitchens are in the holiday parks we’ve stayed at so far? Check out the pic of today’s kitchen up above.
And now it’s sprinkling a bit and we’re watching the sun set over the bay from our campsite. In the morning we’re heading all the way to Cape Reinga, all the way at the northern tip. Then we’ll spend a few days working our way back down before starting journey south along the west coast.