We took the bush walk this morning. The “40-minute walk” took us 1 ½ hours, as we expected it would. There were some really big kauri trees. This walk also had the clean-your-shoes facility at both ends of the walk. (While the “clean” facility has a good intent, I have no idea if it really makes any difference – or if anyone has checked whether or not it has any effectiveness. L) The kauri bark is interesting, and so is all the vegetation it supports—it is really a whole ecosystem up there. Kauris are related to pines—they have cones, but have leaves instead of needles. We heard a number of birds, but didn’t spot very many.
On the road, we headed for the Kauri Museum. I wish I had known it was so big—we could have spent most of the day there, but we only had a couple of hours. They had a lot of information and photographs on the history of kauri logging and kauri gum. They also had panels of different types of kauri wood and also other woods, and beautiful furniture made of kauri.
There was a whole room full of display cases of kauri gum, which is not actually amber, because it isn’t fossilized—as it is found, polished, carved, made into jewelry, with insects, etc. naturally in it and artificially inserted. More than you could imagine wanting to know about it. And many peoples’ collections.
There was a display of rooms from a well-to-do family’s home, with manikins made from actual life masks of local people, and the rooms made with kauri wood. Also models of the processes and equipment for logging, transporting, and milling the wood. And a butter churn for a commercial dairy made of kauri wood—a cylinder about 10 feet (!) in diameter.
And there was a diagram showing the diameter of the largest currently living kauri tree, and the diameters of other known kauris. Also a couple of cross sections of trees, showing the dates of various event, and a slab from a tree killed by lightning, that was donated to the museum. It is a board cut from the center of the log up to the lowest branches. It is not in one piece, but it is from one tree.
Finally, we had to leave. We headed for our campground north of Auckland. The beach in front of the campground has rocks made from lava that flowed over and around a kauri forest, killing the trees, which have disappeared, leaving molds of the trunks and arches over where logs were. It also has some good tidal pools!
We also spent some time tonight doing laundry, sorting, and packing. Tomorrow we plan to spend in Auckland. And the day after tomorrow we fly away. As is said: it’s sad to go and it’s time to go.