To Kawakawa, Kerikeri and the Haruru Falls

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The duck shown above is just one of many ducks which inhabited the cafe at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, looking for food from the customers. These ducks looked so good, but were quite an aggressive bunch!

In the afternoon, we drove south along the coast and inland to Kawakawa, made famous by the Hundertwasser Toilets! This strange, but functional, building was so out of place in this otherwise missable town. Frederick Hundertwasser was an artist from Vienna, who visited New Zealand in the 1970s, fell in love with it, and bought a piece of land near Kawakawa. When the local council was in need of upgrading the town’s public toilets, Hundertwasser stepped in, and now the town is famous just for this!

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Next, we drove north to Kerikeri to look at the Stone Store and walk to the Rainbow Falls. The Stone Store was a Mission House and is New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building, and inside nowadays is a curiosity shop. We walked the wrong way so never found the Rainbow Falls, instead we had tea in the cafe by the river; a location made famous by having New Zealand’s oldest pear tree!

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Since it was only early evening and we still felt like a walk, we followed the sign to the Power Station which took us along a river bank and into the bush.

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It turned out that the building of this pumping station was a condition imposed by the wife of the man who planned to come to New Zealand to farm the land. She knew that getting servants would be a problem, so wanted electricity to power those new-fangled gadgets which would make her life easier.

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The photo to the right shows the seed pods of a flax plant. You can find this plant everywhere in New Zealand, either growing wild or as ornamental plants in gardens. The flowers attract birds for its nectar, and the leaves were used by Maori to weave baskets, etc.

Because sunset was late (8:30 pm) by my standards, we could have a leisurely walk back from the Power Station, enjoying the environment and breathing in the lovely fresh air filled with the smell of plants. When you live in the tropics, the humidity tends to drown fragrancies, so ’fresh air’ is a real pleasure.

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On our return to Paihia, we stopped at the Haruru Falls. The sun was starting to go down by now, so the river glowed at the end of the day. There was still plenty of activity on the river though, with canoes trying to get close to the bottom of the falls.

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« Day 3: To Paihia, Bay of Islands

Day 5: Bay of Islands »

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© Helen Gray 2020