Monday, 10 September 2012

Walking... Over The Hills... And Through The Bush...

It was a lovely day... So off we went for a walk...
Raincoats... Definitely my tramping boots...
My stick I picked up on the way.
This is at the top of the 1st hill looking back at the camp area.
You can see my bus and my friends bus parked in the distance...
On some hard ground.
The ground is really wet and some places we walked were really slushy... Churned up by the cows.

Down the other side of the 1st hill.
This is typical New Zealand, Northland farmland.
Rather scrubby and poor grass and regenerating
back into scrub and bush.
It's part of this area of land owned by the people of NZ and farmed by the Department of Conservation.

The Gum (Eucalyptus) trees and Norfolk Pines as we
descend to another little beach...

It's a beautiful spot... Hidden away... Only accessible by foot or boat.

This is looking across the water of the Whangaruru Harbour to the, mostly holiday homes, at Ohawini Bay and Parorerahi Bay. Both are only accessible at low tide by either driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle over the rocks or walking from the Whangaruru Beachfront Motor Camp
at the end of Ohawini Rd.

Here is a better map... Hope you can see it.

Our walk continued past a clump of wild Arum Lillies. These grow wild in New Zealand, in the damp paddocks... They are prolific in Northland.
I heard recently that in England they are cultivated... Large and small sizes...Used in wedding bouquets... And very expensive!
Not here... And we associate them more with funerals!

The muddy track continued...

Up and over the next hill... Can you see the collection of bee hives?
There were lots of bees... Buzzing around collecting the honey from the Manuka blossoms...
The trees are in flower now. This is the beautiful sought after honey with healing properties...
Internally and for wounds and burns.

And into the bush...
This very unique New Zealand bush is a collection of wild NZ natives.
It's very hard to describe to people who don't live in NZ
 just what 'Bush' is...
But here are some pictures.
I love it and the various damp smells.
It's early spring time so lots of things are in flower...

Shadows and sunlight...

Me... In my raincoat... Boots... And stick!

These are Tree Ferns, or in NZ known as Punga.
In Northland they are very common in any damp bushy places...
They like lots of rain that's why they thrive up here.
A few years ago we had a major drought and lots of them died.
It was very sad to see the dead trunks with no leaves sticking up all through the bush...
But they have regenerated now and are as prolific as ever.
The NZ fern leaf is the symbol for the NZ Rugby All Blacks and other sports teams.

This is a new Punga leaf or fern growing. It is called a 'Koru'
meaning 'New Life'

Here it is unfolding...

This is a tiny plant the grows on the ground... I haven't managed to identify it yet!
If you can I would love to know what it is.

This is Hangehange or Maori Privet... It was used by early Maori as a flavouring, tied around bundles of food before placing them in the Hangi (Maori oven in the ground) to cook.
Also used medicinally for skin diseases and when the bark is pulped it produces a black dye.
Again it is prolific in its natural habitat and has the tiniest most insignificant flowers that produce an amazing strong perfume that permeates the bush.

This is Rangiora... I have picked a leaf to show you the underside...
The holes in the leaves are made by large, hairy caterpillars known as 'Woolly Bears'.
The large soft, velvety leaves have earned the tree it's popular  European name, 'Bushman's Toilet Paper'...
But it's equally handy for those trampers less well equipped, as the bright underside of the leaves can be used as notepaper!
The Maori used the leaves for wrapping 'Hangi' meals...  applying to wounds and ulcers...
And the gum, collected by making cuts in the bark, for chewing and to scent perfumes and hair oil...
By mixing it with seed oil or pigeon fat.

This is a small Manuka Tree.... Commonly known as 'Tea Tree'.
Captain Cook and his  crew brewed Manuka leaves to make tea...
And Makuka  beer is fairly well known.
The leaf contains 'Leptospermone', an insecticide... And the essential oil is an excellent perfume for many things including soap making.
I always have a bottle of the essential oil, I use it for cuts or wounds as an antiseptic and when I give myself a pedicure I soak my feet in warm water with a few drops. I love the smell.
I also rub it round my fingernails.
The Maori used the bark for waterproof containers, and a waterproof layer for roofing and coats/capes.
The straight poles were used for battens and rafters in 'whare' (house) building,
 bird spear shafts and paddles.
The gum was used for scenting hair and the flexible seedlings for making crayfish (lobster) traps.

This is Puawananga - 'Flower of Learning' or native Clematis.
It was intrduced to Britain in 1840 for its beautiful showy flowers and has remained something of a collectors item ever since. It is grown under glass to protect it from the cold winters there.
A plant grown in Massachusetts, USA, is recorded as bearing 7000 flowers open at one time.
Here in NZ it grows wild in the bush, climbing its forest support with the use of touch sensitive leaf stalks.
When the leaf makes contact with a branch or other object it coils itself firmly round the support, thus making an anchor for the next leg of its assent.
The flowers produce a very pale nectar loved by the bees.

And the Kawakawa... Very popular with the Wood Pigeon and Brown Loop Caterpillars.
The leaves contain  a substance useful for pest and insect control... When dampened and smoked it interferes with their metamorphoses.
The caterpillar is immune to this!
It's medicinal uses... chew the leaves for toothache, it acts like cloves.
The green spikes - fruit - you can see turn orange in the summer and can be eaten.
The leaves can be made into tea...Very good for chests and colds...
And spinners have found that the branches and leaves will dye wool lime green with a chrome mordant, or bluish-green with copper.

And... Out of the bush onto the top of the hill...
Looking back at where we have walked from...
And below looking down the other side to little coastal bays.
There is another walk down there... For another day!

We followed the fence line down the hill to the gate...
This is the view back to where we walked to...
And so we completed the loop and back home again.


  1. Done that walk and it really is a great one, looks like you have the place to yourselves