North Island, New Zealand

We arrived in Auckland and headed north. 
The area has some very pleasant farmland overlooking a huge bay on the west coast.

Further north we got into a forest of mixed hardwood and fern trees.

Here is a road sign you won't see in any other country.
We didn't see any kiwis here but we did on the south island.

According to Maori legend this kauri tree is the lord of the forest, the son of the sky father and earth mother.
Their name for it is Tane Mahuta and all living creatures are it's children.
It is about 2000 years old, 45 feet around, and at 170 feet tall it towers over everything around it.

Further north we visited Louis Toorenburg and his wife at their puzzle shop.
We had fun walking through his garden maze and trying to solve some of the puzzles with another family that stopped by.

Continuing on we passed this inlet where we saw a team paddling a classic Maori canoe.
They were really giving it their all.  We guessed they were training for a race.

Louis recommended we stop at the Ginn Ngawha hot spring.
Even though the pools were were only a few feet apart they each had their own character, temperature, minerals, and odor.
This rustic spa was very enjoyable after a long drive.

A well maintained, but steep, trail provides access to Whangarei falls

A volcanic island off the east coast of the north island.

Back into farmland.

The Auckland skyline

This peacock greeted us at the entrance to a trail through the Wairakei geothermal valley.
The features along the trail were very active and very colorful.
The dragon's mouth was aptly named.

Much of New Zealand's electricity comes from geothermal power stations like this one.
Here in the Wairakei Power Station more than 200 wells have been drilled to zones of very hot  high pressure water.
As the water comes to the surface in the 60 active wells it flashes to steam which turns the generators.

It would be a wild ride on this river ending in a plunge over Huka falls

A well kept and free campground was not far away.

We walked around The Craters Of  The Moon.

The forest along the river is the Kahu Scenic Reserve.
It is part of the Rangitikei forest that once covered this area.
The part that remains is home to 430 native plant species.

We boarded this ferry for the trip to the South Island.
The crossing was rainy or overcast.
I spent some time challenging some of the kids in a school group with string and rope puzzles.

New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Rutherford, New Zealand Flowers

See other places we have visited here.

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