On Christmas morning, most of our tour group got up early for an all-day tour out to Cape Reinga, the northern-most tip of New Zealand. The tour went to Cape Reinga, but it was so much more. We visited an ancient kauri grove, drove through landscapes so breathtakingly beautiful to almost not be real, had a picnic lunch beside crystal-blue water, got to swim in the ocean, went sand duning and even drove out on a beach at highway speeds for several miles. The next few posts will highlight each of these in turn.
The kauri grove is a special place. Kauri trees can grow for thousands of years, and the ones we saw were several hundred years old. Their majestic trunks tower over you and remind you how small you are in the stream of time. There was a quiet calm inside the grove that spoke to the centuries of time these massive sentinels have witnessed. The foliage around the trees was also fascinating: perfectly symmetrical palms trees, intricate ferns and tenacious moss all working in concert in this microcosm of life at its most green and lush.
Title quote: Maori for “the kauri has fallen in the sacred forest of Tāne” – a saying used when a great person died. Source: Joanna Orwin. ‘Kauri forest – Using kauri’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12, URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/kauri-forest/page-3