The forests here are just amazing to hike through, and couldn't be any different from the terrain we're used to. The forests are unbelievably lush, full of so many varieties of ferns, large Kauri trees and what seems like hundreds of other varieties with which I am not even familiar. The are an abundance of birds who seem to be more vocal than anywhere else I've been, we're both enjoying their calls, and it truly feels like we're hiking through a tropical tropical.
The tracks in the forest are steep and difficult though. They put the ups and downs of the southern AT to shame. Sometimes it's hard to believe that they're truly meant to be a 'track'. This is a picture of typical forest.
We were greeted by this wonderful carving as we entered the Herekino Forest, our first bush tramp. It was done by a local wood carver and was nice greeting upon arriving at the forest.
We hiked through areas with lots of Kauri trees. Kauri are native to New Zealand and some of the largest trees here. In the past they were used extensively for carving, building homes, boats and buildings, and their gum used to start fire and used in varnishes. This tree is now protected in many areas as it was so extensively logged and in addition, many areas are suffering from Kauri Dieback disease. It's a fungus-like disease that kills the trees. In many areas there are spray bottles with disinfectant for trampers to spray their shoes when entering and exiting as a way to try and stop the disease.
|Brazil Nut standing in front of a Kauri tree|
|A beautiful campsite with a spectacular view|
|Walking up the Mangapukahukahu Stream|
As we've been walking we've noticed lots of traps in the woods and along side the trail. There is an infestation of rats and possums and they've become such a problem that they're trying to eliminate them by trapping and poison. Apparently the possums were brought here in the 1870's for use of their fur. Now, they've grown to the millions, have no predators and are destroying the forests, killing trees and plants and killing many of the native birds and eating their eggs.
This is a trap we passed on the side of a forest road. It is sad that we introduced them to NZ for our use and we're the ones who created the problem in the first place.
|We're hoping to see some Kiwi birds|
|Rainbow Falls near Kerikeri|
JP and Nut