Monday, June 10, 2013

Journey to the Northland ; Kerikeri

Salam and hello guys,

It's been a while since I wrote the last entry. But I feel inclined again to write this entry which is part of my travelogue to the Northland region of New Zealand. As I mentioned in the last part of the previous entry, I left Whangarei for Kerikeri in the morning of 21st November 2012.

One of the staff at the backpackers that I was living with was kindly enough to give me ride from there to the bus station, along with two other travelers which I reckon from Germany. We did chat along the ride and I found out that the staff was actually from Levin which is not far from my home at Palmerston North. The German girls also explaining that they are going to Nelson to find summer jobs there.

Finally we reached Whangarei bus station after half an hour ride from hotel. It was raining that morning as the same with other days I spent in Whangarei. Coach from Auckland bound for Kaitaia arrived within 15 minutes after that. Most of the passengers are going to Paihia, a tourist attraction town at Bay of Islands which I am going after Kerikeri (will write about Paihia too in the next entry).

People waiting for coach at Whangarei Bus Station

The journey took about one and half hour to reach Kerikeri. As usual, coach stopped at few places such as Kawakawa and Paihia to drop off few passengers. There was also an emergency stop as one of the passenger puked, probably due to the windy road from Whangarei to Paihia.

Finally, I reached Kerikeri. Kerikeri is a small town located almost to the northeastern tip of North Island, New Zealand. It is also called "The Cradle of the Nation" as it was the place where western missionaries made the first encounter with the Maori "Ngapuhi" tribe. They were allowed to build a mission station at Kerikeri Basin, which happened to be the first wooden and stone building at New Zealand. 

I spent five days here and I was staying at KeriCentral Guesthouse and Backpackers. Talking about KeriCentral, most of the guests here are seasonal workers working at the farms, fruits orchard and vineyards around Kerikeri. I was sharing room with five others which three of them are Germans, one from Scotland and another from Italy.Two of the Germans were not working here but visiting Kerikeri and later on going to Coromandel peninsular. Another German guy have been here since two weeks before and working at one of the orchards. The Scottish guy was on his way down from Cape Reinga to Auckland and spent a night here. And lastly the Italian just arrived here and currently looking around for jobs.

My room at KeriCentral.

It was still, raining that day and because of that I have no plan of shooting anything yet. So I went out to the town to buy few things such as canned foods from New World and having lunch. As expected, there were no halal outlet around here, so I had fish and chips instead. For the whole trip here in Kerikeri, I did not cook for dinner since the kitchen was always crowded with people.

Fish and chips with tomato and aioli sauce for lunch.

That evening, I went walking to the Rainbow Falls which is situated alongside Kerikeri Basin Reserve. I did not bring my camera since it was still raining and I just want to survey the place for potential angles to shoot. The waterfalls is almost identical with Whangarei Falls which I have visited earlier and it is about 8 meter high. It took me half an hour to walk from town to go there (6 km distance).

Second Day, 22nd November 2012

It was still, raining for the whole day. So I did not go anywhere, except staying on my bed surfing internet (which is free of charge). That evening, I tried my luck walking to the waterfalls wearing my raincoat. It was kinda difficult to take pictures due to the occasional heavy rain and to make worst, the massive water spray from the falls made my camera and lenses soaked with water. This is the only picture I took that day:

Rainbow Falls.

Third Day, 23rd November 2012.

Weather for this day was cloudy which still better than raining like the previous two days. My plan for today was to walk to Rainbow Falls (again), taking pictures there and then follow the Kerikeri Basin Reserve walkway to the end of the trail, which is at the Stone Store and Mission House, which total up of 12 km walk.

As usual, the water spray from Rainbow Falls made the shooting difficult but this time I brought out my lens cloth to wipe it dry. Below are some of the pictures I took there:

Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri

As I walking to the Mission House, I found another impressive waterfalls called Wharepuke Falls. During summer season like this time it is a popular spot for tourists to go swimming. For this shot, I used a circular polarizer and shoot two images for background and foreground at 35mm which later on stitched to form this picture:

Wharepuke Falls, Kerikeri Basin Reserve
Wharepuke Falls.

Situated not far from Wharepuke Falls, there is remnant of an old hydroelectric plant. It is believed to be the first plant in New Zealand which later on was shut down around 1960s. I dont have pictures of it though.

Finally, I reached the end of the walkway, which is the Stone Store. As I mentioned earlier, Stone Store is the oldest stone building in New Zealand. And near to it is the Mission House, which is also the oldest wooden building in New Zealand. It was cloudy that evening but still, the sky got some reddish cast which I later on took some of the photos there.

Stone Store, Kerikeri at dusk
Stone Store.

Mission House, Kerikeri Basin at Dusk
In front of the Mission House, there are rocks which only visible during low tide.

Fourth and fifth day, 24th November 2012

Weather became much better for these two last days in Kerikeri. So I planned to shoot few more pictures around the Basin (and from few different angles). 

Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri
Vertorama from two images. Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri New Zealand
Sky finally clear, leaving few patchy clouds. This is from five exposures merged in Photomatix.

Mission House, Kerikeri Basin at dusk
View of the Mission House, Kerikeri Basin. Also from five exposures merged in Photomatix.

26th November 2012.

I left early in the morning to catch a bus from Kerikeri to Paihia at 9 am in the morning. I had breakfast at Subway near to the bus stop and shortly after that the bus arrived and I left for Paihia. 

It was not actually in my plan to visit Paihia, but my friend convinced me that there are plenty worth visiting and shooting of so I added this in my itinerary. 

That's all for now. Thanks for reading and stay tune for the next entry of this travelogue ; Paihia, Bay of Islands.

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