I have read a lot about transportation in New Zealand, but I have never thought it would be difficult to travel around without a car. Truth is, there are in fact, quite a number of attractions (at least in the Far North that I have been so far), that would have been difficult to access without a car. I worry how I am going to continue my journey to Christchurch when I have to rely on public transportation. No doubt I would have to miss the less touristy sights, and I think that would be such a shame.
It took us an hour drive from Dargaville, to reach Waipoua Forest; the native forest in Northland, and the home to the ancient Kauri trees. The Kauri trees are part of a family of trees present on Earth since the Jurassic period, and according to Claire, they are the native New Zealand trees. Amongst them, the Tane Mahuta is the largest Kauri tree in NZ, and despite us getting lost several times while driving, we were eager to see how magical this tree was.
It was a good walking track from the entrance as pictured below, and a mere 2 mins walk took us to the great tree.
This tree was gigantic! Measuring at least 52m tall, and with a tree trunk at least 14m wide, it stood out easily amongst the other trees.
We were fortunate that no one else was there. Because it was just us, the big tree, and the sounds of birds chirping in the background. It gave us all the time and silence needed to properly appreciate this piece of Mother Nature, who is estimated to be around 2,000 years old. According to the Maori myths, Tane is the life giver and “all living creatures are his children”. In other words, Tane Mahuta created life, and in the midst of the forest, with the tree staring down at me, and flourishing with life, I believe so. I believe that this majestic tree gives life to the plants, the flowers, and the animals around it. It gives life to this piece of forest, and it stands strong here to continue to awe us. Just look at how tiny and insignificant I am, as compared to the tree.
This might not be the most spectacular sight in New Zealand, but for that moment in time when it was just the tree and I, I could feel the power and strength of nature. I am fortunate that Claire kindly loaned us the car to explore the North. This was something I never want to miss.
To get to Tane Mahuta, drive in from State Highway 12 which stretches through the Waipoua Forest. The southern township of Dargaville is 65 km away. Besides the Tane Mahuta, other Kauri trees such as Te Matua Ngahere (second biggest Kauri tree), the Four Sisters (group of four Kauri trees), and the Yakas (7th largest Kauri tree, and you can touch it) are also nearby.