Our transport for the day.

Our transport for the day.

Dramatic cliffs dominated the seaward side of the island.

Dramatic cliffs dominated the seaward side of the island.

On the first day of May our hiking group did something rather special. We hired a boat to take us to Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands. This is the largest of a group of islands that are part of a worthy and ambitious project to restore native flora and fauna, in particular native birds, to the Bay of Islands. Tree planting and pest eradication have been underway for some years. We heard the song of tuis almost every moment we were on the island and were often accompanied by fantails. The pateke or brown teal is an endangered small, brown and quite beautiful native duck. There were a few on a pond that we visited. You’ll see photos below of the ducks and of concerned bird lovers that we met who were tracking the ducks.

Urupukapuka (island of many pukas, a native tree whose large leaves were used as paper by early European visitors) is a delightful place to visit. There are a couple of shore-side DOC camps, easy, well-maintained tracks, regenerating bush, grassy areas and historic pas. It is well worth the effort to get there.

Arrival

Arrival

Calm, protected beaches were found on the leeward side of the island.

Calm, protected beaches were found on the leeward side of the island.

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A beautiful brown teal or Pateke

A beautiful brown teal or Pateke

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The spectacular view from the lookout on Roberton Island, an excursion we made on the return boat trip.

The spectacular view from the lookout on Roberton Island, an excursion we made on the return boat trip.

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My thanks as always to George for the great photos from this walk completed on May23rd, 2012.


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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Bay of Islands Aerial View

Lucia and I love to spend one day a week away from home hiking and generally enjoying ourselves in beautiful places. Yesterday was one such day. First we did the Rainbow Falls waterfall walk in Kerikeri. Kerikeri is a small town with a vibrant history.

The New Zealand Tui

Recently the vehicular traffic bridge was removed from the basin in Kerikeri where the river meets the sea. A beautiful suspension bridge was built, allowing only bicycles and foot traffic. It is amazing how much nicer this area feels now that cars aren’t driving through all the time. Now, instead of traffic noise, you hear only the sound of the birds, murmurings of conversations and the clicking of cameras (and the modern digital ones almost everyone uses make almost no sound). It reminds me of the improvement to the feeling at Niagara Falls, Ontario when cars were disallowed when I was growing up. It’s great to see people enjoying themselves while walking around.

Bay of Islands A Sailors Dream

We then went on to Paihia at the Bay of Islands, a popular destination for overseas visitors. The colossal cruise ship, The Queen Mary, had been anchored there the day before. We had another hike along the Waitangi River between Haruru Falls and the sea. It was lovely to share that walk with a few humans and the prolific New Zealand native birds such as fantails and tuis. Waitangi has a special place in my heart. Not only is it the cradle of the New Zealand nation where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed my Maori representatives and the British on February 6, 1840. It was also here, on January 1, 2000, that I became a New Zealand citizen, one of a small group of the world’s first new citizens in the New Millennia. It was a touching experience.

Waitangi Meeting House Where I Became a NZ Citizen

Now that our youngest daughter is 17 (and the only one still at home) the possibility of walking days has returned, just like we did when we were first together before the girls were born. It feels great to share in this way. And it is all within an hour’s drive of home. We are so lucky.

One of the Many Beautiful Beaches in the Bay of Islands

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