Next stop was Pakiri Beach, which involved driving along long stretches of unsealed roads. It was a nice sandy beach, and a good place to collect shells, but not really worth the drive. When I finally got back onto the main road, I continued north to Brynderwen, where I turned for the west coast of Northland.
I stopped in Matakohe at the Kauri Museum, where I looked at a few examples of really big trees. The biggest recorded was eight metres diameter, which is painted onto the wall, but it’s still difficult to comprehend. Makes our oak trees sound so small!
By the time I reached Dargaville, I was fed up of trying to find radio frequencies, so bought a couple of cassettes. Unfortunately, they were bad cover versions of hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. And you don’t get the whole song either: just about a minute of each, badly mixed together.
So after Dargaville was Waipoua Forest. I stopped at the forest lookout, which had great views, but creeped me out because I was the only person there, and hadn’t seen anyone for miles! So I took a couple of photos and got out of there again. Next stop was the visitors centre, then on to see some really big trees. Time was getting on now: I was hoping to be in Opononi on the other side by 5pm. So I picked the two shortest walks to see the trees. Creeped myself out again when I went ten minutes into the forest to see the Four Sisters: four Kauri trees growing really close together. When I reached Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest, I finally saw some other cars! I didn’t think I’d have time to appreciate the size of the biggest tree in the forest, but it really was surprisingly big: I stopped in my tracks when I first spotted it. Stayed and looked at it for a while, then drove onto to Opononi.
I got some food in Opononi and phoned a hostel in Paihia in the Bay of Islands, then carried on driving. Reached Paihia by 7.30pm, and spent the evening reading Harry Potter.