How frustrating! I spent a good hour late last night, not online writing my thoughts and experiences bringing it all up to date. Then this morning when I showed up here at the library in Kawakawa, I went online..poof all gone. If there is one thing I thought I had learned it was Assume nothing! Especially with this medium. Anyway there I was in the library Dagraville skyping with Elke (how nice it is to connect) trying hard not to disturb the woman behind me. When she got up to go I mentioned it and we went into a 20 min conversation. She was interested to know what I thought about her country, a student attending University in Hamilton, home for the holidays (isn't that a movie?). I described some experiences then showed her pictures... She recognized the spot I spent the night, her partners family are the folks in the corrugated iron cabins above the beach, oh right I hadn't got there yet. So I drive down this road along a river and come to the end. sorta. Someone in a bigger camper parked, not too friendly he was and beyond I can see an atv, 4wd and a collection of corrugated iron "buildings" definitely a camp of sorts, these folks have been coming here for years. Turns out someone actually lives there! One of my new acquaintance's relatives. Across the river another building with a flag on a pole, that's the picture she recognized. Anyway there was another road going up onto the hill behind, the gate was open and I thought why not? Drove past a fenced area with a picnic table, along a track with gates looking very sheep or cattle country. Around another corner and voila out onto a beautiful field overlooking the western vista, surf pounding below and two fishermen. At the far edge of the field was a van, a small trailer, door wide open and piles of stuff strewn around; mattresses, surf boards, a guitar, bags of unknowns, camping gear and no one to be seen. I wandered down the cliff stepping over the electric fence and slowly approached the first fisherman. he didn't appear glad to see me. He indicated his understanding was the land was private and I might get locked in. At that point his rod fell over and he began hauling in a fish whose name I didn't quite catch, his partner also brought one in and they allowed I might have brought them good luck. Back to fishing. I returned to the van, where now a woman and child had appeared. She said they were leaving and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to be there if they were not. Parked down below,went for an explore walking along the river to the mouth and the beach. Then back to eat the rest of my dinner and have a beer. Another van arrives, they say hello (!) and explore briefly returning to tell me they are parking up above, I join them due to some understanding of Neville's that the trust or something like that allows us to be there. As darkness falls, Ferg shows up and after some convincing by Neville backs off from booting us out since he is leaving in the morning and we will too. I awake to the sound of gentle rain in the night, followed closely by a lashing downpour, gale force winds and the van rocking violently. Luckily I parked below the crest of the hill. Finally quit around 6, so I did my breakfast, some writing and prepared to leave. The starter wheezes again and again bringing Neville out to investigate from his tiny tent with his Swiss friend Andrea on his heels. Eventually with their help rocking back and forth it catches and I AM OUTA THERE. Next stop the really big Kauri trees, the biggest and the widest. They call one of them Father of the Forest but to me they were both big mother trees, huge. Taking a picture just doesn't come close to portraying how massive they are. Went for a nice walk through the woods to see them and took lots of pictures. Onward, stopping to look at the carved bowls of 4500 year old Kauri, very nice, and dear. Some gum there as well, but nothing called my name.
Dagraville, the river is brown, turbid and unappealing. The town itself seems friendly, old buildings and a sense of heritage, cashing in on the tourists as much as is possible. I spent $20 doing the internet thing before figuring out I could do the library for free... wandered around in between attempting to get grounded and determine what my next step might be. Had a moment of upset when the phone mic wouldn't work, the payphone wouldn't accept coins or my credit card. I bought some time and made the call. Will visit Jean DeVries near Wellsford tonight. I was hungry so went for Chinese food... it was the worst I have ever experienced, it tasted UNchinese, tough and bland, I felt sorry for these folks, trying so hard. Weird it was.
Decided to work myself towards Kawakawa to see the toilets. Drove north from Tangowahine through some beautiful country following a river and turning east I came upon the mineral springs I had been reading about in my Lonely Planet Guidebook. I had not been able to locate them on the map, but here I was. $13 to visit the pools and spend the night, what a deal.