Northland Kauri Forests tour
Kauri Forest were located on Northland, about 4 hours drive from Auckland. In the early 1800's, New Zealand had over a few million hectares of kauri forest, especially around Northland. But many trees were cut down and most of the ancient forests were destroyed. There are only 4% of the original forests left in Northland. A mature kauri tree is very huge and its trunk has strength. The trunk of this tree is branchless to the crown. This is one of the reasons that lots of kauri were cut down for building products, ship materials and wood products. Now kauri are protected and it's illegal to cut them down.
I joined a Kauri Forest tour, which was a one-day tour from Auckland. It was the third tour which was operated by FreewheelingNZ.com. We left Auckland and drove to the area called "Kauri Coast". As recently as 150 years ago, there were large ancient kauri forests around there. But in the 1800's, the European settlers arrived there and cut down the forests. However, some huge kauries survived and the forest was made protected against harvesting. Now "Kauri Coast" is a popular tourist destination in the North Island.
We had a short break at a cafe. It had a distinct design. It looked like the building of the future or the building of the past, anyway it really looked strange! I wondered what this building was based on?
We stopped for a bit at kauri craft gallery. The shop had a great variety of kauri products, plates, bowls, boxes, pots and tables etc.... The timber of kauri has a beautiful deep golden color and massive texture. Of course, they weren't made from kauri trees which were cut down. The staff in the shop said that people used fallen trees due to natural disaster or diged up ancient fallen trees in the ground.
The most attractive displays were the guiters. I wondered how they would sound?
Young kauri tree
Our first stop. There was a large kauri next to the car park. This tree is estimated to be 8 00 years old. It would just be a teenager compared to Te Matua Ngahere, which is the oldest living kauri in New Zealand, estimated to be over 2000 years old!