Having been traveling non stop now for three months, it has become very special to be with good friends. People with whom you share some past. My friend in Melbourne, for example: our day together and the subsequent emails were enlivening and reassuring. I’ve known him for four years in the work place and we’ve been through some things together. Now, we simply slipped into conversation, which flowed and felt good.
We only knew Lianne for three weeks, some ten years ago, so it was exciting to see how well we got on. By Friday, we could spend a day in perfect companionship. Sometimes silent, sometimes in different parts of the house but always comfortable. I am going to miss this kind of friendship over the next three months as we continue our travels.
We arrange to pop back to see Lianne after heading North: we have to go back this way and it may be some time before we meet up again. Lianne gives us excellent instructions to drive the scenic route, first visit the Kauri Museum.
The size of these trees is phenomenal. The museum size matches the tree! It has a mass of photos from the height of felling days, samples of every kind of kauri and swamp kauri that ever has been in existence, furniture made from kauri, machines to cut kauri, to plane kauri, and a history of the gum diggers who hunted the kauri gum which dripped, amber from the trees.
It is quite incredible to imagine cutting the tree down, let alone managing to invent a saw suitable for cutting the trunk in two lengthways – but of course they did! There were interesting films of how they transported the logs via a dam, crashing down the river in a way that looked as if it tried to splinter the wood into matchsticks, but, of course kauri wood is strong.
Seem kauri had been found buried underground and recovered after 2,500 years or more. When you consider that the tree took a thousand years or so to grow to a suitable size this made swamp kauri incredibly old.
For more information you might wish to visit the museum website.
From here it is quite easy to see one on the biggest existing kauri trees, Tane Mahute. Not far from the road, through a shady dappled boardwalk path, he lives. People come in a constant stream to pay homage to this ancient living plant. It was almost spiritual to see, to feel people quieten as they approached, even posing for a photo was done with a certain reverence.
After that we felt it a long drive to Russell, (even using the ferry) but our motel was well furnished with a modern four poster bed and a large spa bath. The view is outstanding and a bottle of wine and some chocolate wait for us in the fridge.
Some time soon, I am going to have to get back into backpacker mode! I think I am being spoilt! But mmm, I'll just sink into this bath and sip my wine while I think if that's true or not!