Our last full day in New Zealand took us on a driving tour of the Coromandel peninsula, with iced coffees in hand. We drove through beach towns and then entered the heart of the Coromandel: the Forest Park. We took a small hike through a Kauri tree grove.
I really didn’t know what to expect with a Kauri tree, but when we finally spotted them, we knew what they were. Huge, towering trees that were so different from the other tree around it. They stuck out a bit.
I didn’t want to leave New Zealand without seeing a site of an old Māori pa, or fortification. History tells us that many hills around New Zealand were once the sites of pas used for defense or living. When the Europeans arrive, many of the pas had already been abandoned due to intertribal warfare.
The pa of Whitianga Rock was no exception, although the remnants were still there as they are today.
The Māori built huge trenches along the only way up the hill, and you can see the boring holes where beams were placed in the rock. They ate seafood and left the shells in huge piles, or middens, now partially covered by earth.
I’m thankful to have stood there and understood a little more about the history of the Māori.
At Hot Water Beach, we were among over a hundred people enjoying the sand and water, warmed by volcanic activity underneath the sand. There were kids and young adults and a lot of older people acting like kids, digging in the sand and making small warm pools of water. It was so fun to see.
This was our last full day in New Zealand. We would end up sleeping in south Auckland and jumping on a plane early the next morning back to the US via Sydney. What an adventure Stéphane and I had!! We cannot wait to go back. New Zealand was a magical adventure: brilliant and vibrant and pristine.