A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand North: Haruru and Hole in the Rock

Tuesday 26th January Horse riding and Bay cruising

Our motel room opened straight to the car and our breakfast (as ordered) was ready for us on the table outside. As it was sunny we decided to go to the Horse trek (Horse Trek’n Forest and Volcano, 157D Haruru Falls Rd, http://horsetrekn.co.nz) via the Haruru Falls, a horseshoe shaped waterfall. This involved a quick drive via the supermarket for supplies (muesli bars, porridge sachets and crisps) before a further 7 minutes to the Haruru Falls Road. It was easy to find the waterfall due to the noise. We parked in the dedicated area and walked to the falls where, as it was early, we were alone. The falls are quite tame in the summer, but much fiercer in the winter months. Then it was a drive on up the road to find the trek- at first we couldn’t find the turn off, but it was signposted the other direction. We were early so we waited in the sun until 10 am. They could not find our booking, but luckily were super chilled and said we could go and they’d sort it later. So, up on our horses (mine was Moana which is Maori for Lake), a short walk along the road and up into the wood/forest of Waitangi Forest. The tracks were quite rutted so we did not get much trotting or cantering done, but the view from the top of the extinct (hopefully) Te Puke volcano over the whole Bay of Islands was spectacular- all the way to Kerikeri. The bridle path led us into the Waitangi Treaty Grounds National Park, and up to the top of an extinct volcano whose old rim and crater were still clearly visible, if bush covered. We were lucky it was not busy and for most of our ride we didn’t see another soul, making it quiet and peaceful. It was a kiwi zone, but obviously it was daytime, so did not see or hear any. Having enjoyed the beautiful view of Wairoa Bay we trotted back to the stables, arriving at midday.
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When we got back we drove back to the motel to change for our cruise and had time for a quick bite before walking back into town at 1:15 to find the wharf for our boat (easily recognisable as they are yellow and black). This turned out to be simple as it had it’s own dedicated pontoon. Discover the Bay Hole in the Rock Cruise is run by the ubiquitous Explore Group http://www.exploregroup.co.nz/en/amazing-places/bay-of-islands/.
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We couldn’t decide whether to be inside or outside, so we compromised and went to both! The boat took off through the Te Ti Bay, past Motumaire and Taylor Islands (small nature reserves) and into the town of Russell on the opposite bank of the peninsula (Kororareka Bay). Russell/ Kororāreka, was the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand. When European ships began visiting New Zealand in the early 1800s, the Māori recognised the advantages in trading with these tauiwi. Kororāreka soon earned a bad reputation, a community without laws as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific" despite its name "How sweet is the penguin". Fighting on the beach in 1830, between northern and southern hapū within the Ngāpuhi iwi, known as the Girls’ War. 1840 Governor Hobson read his Proclamations (forerunners of the Treaty of Waitangi) in the presence of settlers and Maori chief, Moka Te Kainga-mataa. At the beginning of the Flagstaff War 1845 (touched off by the repeated felling/ erection of the symbol of British Sovereignty on Flagstaff Hill above the town), the town of Kororāreka/Russell was sacked by Hōne Heke. Russell is now a bastion of cafés and gift shops. Pompallier Mission, the historic printers/tannery/storehouse of early missionaries, is the oldest industrial building in New Zealand, while Christ Church is the country's oldest church.
IMG_6437.JPGIMG_6430.JPGIMG_6445.JPGIMG_6446.JPGThen it was out from the more protected bay and into the main bay, past the tip (Tapeka Point) of the Russell peninsula (Fraser Rock). We passed some larger islands, Moturoa and the Black Rocks (further away on our left), then Roberton/ Motuarohia, Moturua and Waewaetorea on the right. Passing between Okahu/ Motukiekie and Urupukapuka we moved further out. From these more protected islands we were out into a rougher bay, passing some America’s Cup hopefuls. The rough coastline with its numerous bays, coves and barely underwater rocks passed us on the right, a thin spit of land, mainly empty. Some small islets, close to land, flashed by- Motuwheteke and Putahataha being the largest (and at least named).
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Then past isolated Motutara Rock, before coming to the end of land. There was a lighthouse, the Cape Brett Lighthouse (now unmanned) and an island, Otuwhanga, recently (in geological terms) detached from the land. A further few minutes brought us to the iconic Hole in the Rock and Tiheru Isle (Cape Brett). Although it was far too rough to go through the Hole, it was much more interesting watching the sea go through. At one point it managed to completely fill the hole. Next to the Hole we saw the Grand Cathedral Cave that will also become a Hole (actually an arch) one day too.
Then it was back past the lighthouse at the top of Mt.Rakaumangamanga. Despite its very remote location several families in the past had lived and raised children here, but it was given an automated beam in 1978 and now no one lives there. Cape Brett is regarded as a spiritual portal by the northern Maori, a corner of the Polynesian Triangle (with Hawaiki and Easter Island).
IMG_6454.JPGIMG_6457.JPGIMG_6459.JPGIMG_6466.JPGIMG_6473.JPGWe continued back until we reached Urupukapuka Island where we docked at Otehei Bay for a snack and a chance to walk around. We had a cheese snack, then headed up to highest point of the Island to see a breathtaking view of the bay. The island has been made pest free by the government and you cannot spend the night there, so our boat returned 90 minutes later to return us to Paihia in time for a stroll before dinner.
32281948346_86666116df_o.jpgTiheru Island
Motu Kōkako, also known as Piercy Island or "The Hole In The Rock”, is at the very northern tip of Rakaumangamanga (Cape Brett). It is Māori freehold land, administered by the Motu Kōkako Ahu Whenua Trust for the benefit of the descendants of the traditional owners. The island is of great cultural significance to the Ngāpuhi iwi, and historically associated with a range of sacred customary activities. Motu Kōkako was said to be the landing place of the canoe Tūnui-a-rangi before it went to Ngunguru and Whāngārei. It brings to mind the whakataukī 'Te toka tū moana' (the rock standing in the sea). It is probably the most important island in the Bay of Islands in conservation terms, being in near pristine condition, with no evidence of introduced animals. The island was named Piercy Island by Captain Cook in honour of a Lord of the Admiralty. The 60-foot (18 m) hole at sea level was created over centuries by wind and waves making it one of the most naturally beautiful sites in New Zealand. The use of the island by tourist boat operators has been the subject of a long running dispute, with tourism companies taking boats through the Hole in the Rock but not paying a share of the takings to the island's owners. Apart from 1989 - 1992, the owners of the island have received no royalties from the boat operators. A Treaty of Waitangi claim (Wai 2022) has been lodged by the Motu Kōkako Ahu Whenua Trust and is being considered. The Trust and Salt Air have signed a joint tourism venture agreement, under which Salt Air pays a levy for each visitor to the island in recognition of the owners' mana whenua/mana moana rights.
31509777573_3f5e680e4f_o.jpg32282001776_7b0d4a3a0e_o.jpg Otuwhanga Island
Urupukapuka Island is the largest island in the Bay of Islands. Urupukapuka Island was settled by the Ngare Raumati tribe, one of the oldest tribes of the area. In 1839, William Brind, a whaling captain, claimed to have purchased 150 acres of Urupukapuka from Rewa, chief of the Ngapuhi, for one mare but this was invalidated when Rewa claimed the mare was a deposit and not the whole sum. In the later 1800s, two Europeans leased Urupukapuka for sheep grazing. The island is 208 hectares with sandy beaches and clear water with plentiful reef life. Indico and Paradise Bays are popular sheltered anchorages. The bays are inhabited by colonies of shags and pohutukawas. The New Zealand dotterel, oystercatcher, pied stilt and paradise duck breed on the island. The island’s topography is the most varied of the islands in Ipipiri and ranges from flat areas behind the major bays (Entico, Otehei, Urupukapuka) and rises to moderately steep slopes and coastal cliffs on the island’s eastern side. The main vegetation type is manuka/kanuka shrubland and extensive kikuyu grasslands are features of northern and southern areas of Urupukapuka. A spectacular pohutukawa forest occupies the coastal fringe and pohutukawa are a highlight of the island's vegetation. There is a significant wetland habitat created in the 1980s as a wildlife habitat with baumea sp. and raupo reed land. Urupukapuka has significant restoration potential with its range of habitats and current natural regeneration and it is a breeding area for brown teal/pāteke and NZ dotterel.
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Variable oystercatchers (torea) occur around most of the coastline of New Zealand, and breed most commonly on sandy beaches, sandspits and in dunes. They are very vocal; loud piping is used in territorial interactions and when alarmed. Chicks are warned of danger with a sharp, loud ‘chip’ or ‘click’. Adults have black upperparts, their underparts vary from all black, through ‘smudgy’ intermediate states to white. The proportion of all black birds increases as you head south. Pied morph birds can be confused with the South Island pied oystercatcher. They have a conspicuous long bright orange bill (longer in females), and stout coral-pink legs. The iris is red and the eye-ring orange. Variable oystercatchers eat a wide range of coastal invertebrates, including molluscs and crustaceans, which they open either by pushing the tip of the bill between shells and twisting, or by hammering. They occasionally eat small fish and a range of terrestrial invertebrates, including earthworms. They breed in monogamous pairs and defend territories vigorously against neighbours. Nests are normally simple scrapes in the sand and the 2–3 eggs are laid from October onwards. Incubation is shared and takes about 28 days.
Our evening finished with a nice meal in a close restaurant, the Alfrescos. We were lucky to get an outside table, as it was really busy. http://www.alfrescosrestaurantpaihia.com
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Posted by PetersF 15:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged island north paihia haruru holeintherock urupukapuka

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