I am confused, I arrived on January 1 so today being the 13th should be day 13. I am feeling quite ungrounded. However that appears, the journey continues. I am having a respite from travelling at the moment, visiting some friends of my folks Jean and Rudy DeVries just south of Mangawhai Village. Oh and so you get into the experience of this adventure, wh is pronounced f. Got that? The accent of people can be faint or thick and combined with the Maori names for places sometimes it seems impossible (for me) to understand where or what.
After checking out the Hundertwasser toilets yesterday which by the way are quite entertaining, just a regular toilet with lotsa embellishment. Living roof and a tree growing up through it. With a little shove the van restarted and I drove on to the Kawiti caves. Run by a Maori family , they have a Marea onsite and a cattle farm. The limestone cave was discovered 300 years ago by ancestors of these folks when they smelled smoke, investigated and found a runaway woman living inside. The cave itself is very entrancing with large stalactites and stalagmites galore. A wooden walkway suspended above the stream wends its way through and out the back where a trail leads over the hill and back down through limestone boulders and native bush. No photos inside unfortunately. The glow worms are very cool shining off the ceiling, it is their excrement on tubes hanging down that glows as bait for the mosquitoes and flies they eat.
Onto Whangarei and the falls, a nice walk along the stream and some time to think. Reflection happens when I am driving and stuff comes up I think I want to say, then when I sit to write it is just the travelogue that appears. Thinking about the what if... I had come 20 years ago, I realize that was in the middle of being Dad, there is no way I would have/could have walked away from my children or could afford to bring them here! I needed to say that. Those were wonderful times in spite of all my failings I wouldn't trade that time for anything. Wow i am teary eyed, I miss my children, and love them deeply, I don't know if you all know how important you are to me Matthew, Isaac, Monica, Carla and James. Thank you Annie for your trust and faith in my parenting, I learned so much.
Anti climax time eh? I decided I wanted to take a secondary road south and then head towards Brynderwyn. As I was driving and had no co-pilot to read the map I ended up in Maungatapere, where I saw some amazing stone fencing. Then I tried again after a quick look at the map and this time found myself in Maungakaramea... the folks there had little sympathy since the NZ way is to drive as fast as possible in the most direct way to get anywhere. Back to the #1 I went and eventually (did I tell you my phone is on the fritz? 6 calls later I was on a payphone) arrived here. Now I am off to see the bird sanctuary and dunes, do some walkabout.