Posting by Barb:
On the last day of our memorable road trip we took the north-western route back to Whangarei. Our first stop was Kohukohu, one of the first European settlements in NZ and it boasted to have the oldest foot bridge built in the 1840’s. We took the ferry to Hopianga, a dying little town with lots of ‘For Sale’ signs advertising ‘life style’ change as the sale pitch. We followed part of the road along the 30 km estuary with the thought that it would be a beautiful place to bring the boat. We did talk to some locals about the possibility of doing this and the consensus was that it would be treacherous to do especially getting through the sand bar across the mouth (another navigational challenge for Dennis, maybe next year). We had a nice picturesque stop with some roosters for company and then on to Waipoua Kauri Forest to see the largest Kauri tree in NZ called Te Matua Ngahere, meaning Father of the Forest. It was 2000 years old. Kauri trees usually live to be 4000 years old but in 2007 a severe winter storm damaged the tree therefore shortening its life. To be sitting there underneath the tree was mystical and made me feel humbled and I wondered how many living beings had sat in the shadows of this great tree in the last thousand years. As we continued our journey through the forest, Bill, who was taking a turn in the back seat as Dennis drove ,inadvertently found out that the sunroof in the back seat could open. I suggested he stand up and take a video of twisty, winding road while hanging out of the sunroof. He was like a little kid discovering a new toy, whooping and hollering as he stood in the back seat hanging out of the sunroof. When he finally settled down his curls were all windblown straight!! Too bad we didn’t realize we could open the sunroof when we were on 90 mile beach. We had a really nice meal in a little restaurant called Jo’s in Dargaville. We will definitely go back there and recommend it to anybody looking for a great place to eat!
That was end of our memorable road trip with never ending laughter and unforgettable scenery and experiences.