New Zealand 2011. Northland.

We’d come to the final leg of our New Zealand Odyssey, leaving Aukland to strike out to the country’s aptly named, northernmost part, Northland. Here we motored up to Cape Reinga via ’90 mile beach’, a long, curving stretch of sand up to a headland where two seas meet; the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. For the Maori these are the male and female seas coming together, ‘Te Rerenga Walrua’, representing the creation of life. Along the way, huge dunes provided a tourist draw for sand surfing, although there were no more than a handful of takers.

Here, as all of the coast throughout New Zealand the waters were clear, striking, azure blue and turqoise, topped with white froth. At the top of the headland where the two seas can be viewed in a turbulent cauldron there is a lighthouse and a couple of helpful signposts displaying distances.

We followed up with a visit to the Waipoua Kauri Forest. The Kauri trees are ancient giants of conifers, rightfully treasured and protected by walkways, platforms and paths. Like the giant Redwoods of California there are revered trees, special for their age or size and we took our time to gape and to wonder, humbled by the dimensions and endurance of these wonders.

There was little of our time in New Zealand left as we headed for Coromandel, where many tiny islands poke out of the sea and the terrain of the Peninsula is green and rolling. Coromandel town is tiny but we located a bar where we could enjoy a drink and people-watch. It was a favourite haunt of the local fishermen who loped in straight from work, wearing shorts and wellington boots.

Then we enjoyed a last visit to the beach at Cathedral Cove. I was glad, here that I hadn’t left it too late in my life to visit New Zealand. The climb down to the cove was not for the fainthearted. But once we’d got there we could understand how it got its name, as the rocks have formed a cave with a vaulted ceiling, as if a demented architect had been down here and built a huge temple on the sand.

It was time for us to leave. We’d had six weeks in New Zealand, meeting friendly people, enjoying the thrills of the RWC and taking in as many sights and experiences as we were able. And I know ther was so much more we hadn’t seen and done; the South Island east coast’s snowy glaciers and caves, the north west of North Island, Aukland and so much more.

But we were scheduled to leave. But not, reader to return to the UK. The trip had much more in store as we were about to leave NZ and take a look at another country- and a very large one, too. But that must wait for another time, another post…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

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