Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Zealand – Weeks Two and Three

Monday & Tuesday, December 6 & 7, 2010
Hair cut and Camera!
Our week started off with some more errands and shopping.  I got an overdue haircut, wrote up the previous blog, and we bought a new camera.   Our Canon PowerShot zoom lens motor was dying and unpredictable.  Since we have really enjoyed our PowerShot, we got another one almost identical but with a few more bells and whistles.

Wednesday & Thursday, December 8 & 9, 2010
Lions in Red Beach.  Sula in Gulf Harbor.

Finally, we said goodbye to our first little campground and started our journey north up Highway 1 to Red Beach and Gulf Harbor.  Our friends Herb and Betty on Sula are in the marina there.  We hadn't seen them since Tahiti in late July and were looking forward to a reunion. 

We found a lovely little campground called Pinewoods Motor Camp not far the Harbor.  We noticed as we were checking in that the local Lion's Club was selling Christmas Cakes as a fundraiser.  Russ inquired about the Lion's Club, and it turned out that one of the ladies who was working in the office, Mary, was married to a Lion's club member.  Within just a few minutes after setting up our camp and fixing lunch, we received a visit from a very nice Lion Member Ian (Chalky) White, Executive Management Committee for NZ Lions Club.  He welcomed us to NZ and gave us the names and contact information of some other Lions in NZ who also have bed and breakfast accommodations.

We took a walk around the campground.  It was a very tidy and well kept facility by owners Stephan & Shirley Green.  Most of the sites are little mini-cabins, called baches (short for bachelor pads).  Many residents live year-round in their baches, vacating a few weeks each year so that the campground can maintain its license to be a tourist resident park.  Apparently, if the park were considered a full-time residency development, it would be recategorized as permanent residency land and the taxes would shoot up increasing the day rates beyond what most people could afford.

As we enjoyed our walk

 through the local surroundings, we noticed a beautiful large tree with bottle-brush like blooms.  Shirley told us this was the Pohutukawa tree (Christmas Tree) which is a protected native tree in New Zealand. 

 There was supposed to be a geocache near this tree, but we were not successful in finding it.  Maybe when we return just before Christmas, we'll give it another search.   The campground is right on the water and adjacent to Red Beach and a Surf and Squash Club.

We met up with our friends Herb and Betty on Wednesday afternoon and had a great time going out to a Mexican restaurant and catching up with them.  Thursday, we hung out and took some nice walks.  We made arrangements with the owners to return to PinewoodDecember 24-26, and will be going out to dinner on Christmas Eve with them and Lion Chalky and his wife Mary.  We'll spend December 25 and 26 with cruising friends in Gulf Harbor.

Friday, December 10, 2010
Magnificent Kauri Trees, Amber, and Great Museum

We left Pinewood on Friday morning and headed toward the north east, the Tasmin side of the island.  The Kauri Museum in Matakohe was high on our lists of must sees, and we were not disappointed.  What a beautifully designed and lovely museum with re-created cabins,

boarding houses,  

log mills, and rooms from lovely family homes. 

 Mannequins in these re-created spaces are modeled after actual people and descendants of the New Zealander timber families.

The mannequins alone were the price of admission.  They were incredibly lifelike.

I understand that the mannequins are made out of the same porcelain like material that dentures and caps are made out of.  It would be nice to see some of our state parks in California develop a similar mannequin technique to honor early California descendants.  The artist here utilized old photographs, a casting of a look similar descendant, and occasionally a bust of a person to develop his cast and molding.  He used his own hands as hand models for gripping tools, sewing needles, etc..

Displays of Kauri furniture and the amber "gum" mined by gum diggers from the trees were wonderful. 

Similar to California Redwoods, however, the harvesting of these trees without replacement, soon denuded the hills clearing the area for farming but destroying precious forest habitat. 

Unlike the California Redwood, the Kauri is incredibly slow growing and is not a viable renewable resource for many generations.  For the first 50 years of it's life, the Kauri grows conical like a pine tree, developing a trunk only about a foot or so in diameter.  After that the tree begins to fill out and grow taller, losing its conical shape as it stretches its branches up and out toward the sun.  It loses most of its lower branches and the circumference of the trunk begins to expand.

Nowadays, the only Kauri that is used in the production of furniture, picture frames, and objects of art, come from swamp Kauri, some as old as 8,000 years old.  Kauri can no longer be timbered or scavenged from a fallen tree.  Farmers have uncovered Kauri in swamp lands that is buried and preserved.  This is the only useable Kauri today.

We spent far more time at the museum than we intended and decided to stay overnight at the little campground at the end of the road.  The camp site had once been a member of the Top 10 association, but was now a member of Kiwi Camp Association.  We are now members of both.  While we were at this campsite, we met a young German couple, Ursula and Jorge. 

When we asked them where they were from in Germany, they said from the south between Stuttgart and Munich.  It's the same kind of answer we give when we tell people we live between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe because it is unlikely they would know where Colfax is.  Turns out that after a few more questions, they told us they were from Ulm,  where we used to live!  The world just keeps getting smaller.

Saturday, December 11, 2010
Kiwi night walk in the Kauri forest.

On Satuday morning, we got an early start heading toward the Waipoua Forest.    We had read in one of our guide books that we could go on a guided Kiwi walk in the Trounson recreation area if we made reservations in advance.  We called before leaving the Matakohe camp ground and were the first to sign up.  Once our walk reservations were made by phone, we followed along in the camper arriving just after lunch at our first Top Ten park.  We joined that too.  I think we belong to all of them now!

We spent the afternoon reading, napping, doing laundry, and in between playing on a zip line set up along the river. 

At 8:30 p.m., we reported to the reservation desk and were whisked off with about 9 other campers to the forest.   It was dusk and the forest interior was very dark.  We kept our lights to a minimum, and only our guide had a large spotlight with a red screen.  It felt like we were on a snipe hunt!  The kiwi females and males each have their own call.  In the still of the night, (and I mean still….no crickets, frogs, or other night birds)the only sounds we heard were our own feet padding along the forest track and the infrequent, but loud calls of the Kiwis to one another and their big feet crunching through the underbrush.

Kiwi in a case
The forest in NZ seems to be much more friendly and less frightening than in California where we worry about bears, mountain lions, and rattle snakes.  The biggest predators are possum, stoats, and rats.  In the Trounson recreation area, a concerted effort has been made to kill the predators because they destroy the Kiwi ground birds.  We hiked and searched for 2 hours, but just like the snipe the Kiwi was elusive and we didn't get a chance to spot one.  We did see two possum though.  They aren't as ugly as American possum.  We'll try again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010
Ti Kouka Bed and Breakfast

On Sunday morning, Russ called the contacts given to us by Chalky in Red Beach.  Maria and George are both Lions.  They own a lovely home with gardens and a single bed and breakfast unit in Omapere on Hokianga Bay on the Tasman Sea.  We called and reserved the B & B for two nights.

As we drove the coastal road through the Waipou Forest to Hokianga, we took several walks to see the Father of the Forest (widest girth Kauri tree), and the God of the Forest (tallest Kauri tree).  Truly magnificent.
Preventing soil contamination and the death of Kauri Trees

Four Sisters

Father of the Forest

God of the Forest
We arrived late afternoon in Omapere at Ti Kouka B & B and were welcomed by George and Maria who made us very comfortable in the lovely bedroom on the ground floor of their home.  Their home is surrounded by beautiful gardens which they have lovingly planted and nurtured.  From our room, we had beautiful views of Hokianga Bay. 

A quick trip into Omapere yielded us a couple bottles of red wine, lamb cutlets marinated in rosemary and mint, Kumera (sweet potato) and a beautiful egg plant.  We also found a unique bag of potato chips…..Lamb and mint flavored!
New Zealand Morning Commute
 We returned to our B & B and bar-b-qued our feast and drank wine as the sunset.

Monday, December 13, 2010
Tide pooling on one side of the bay and dune bugging on the other.

The tide was low at 9:30 a.m. and it was perfect for tide pooling along the shore of Hokianga just below Ti Kouka.  We climbed down  stairs that George had built from the gardens down to the beach, and meandered for a mile or two enjoying the clear blue sky, water, and nature's art work everywhere we looked.

We returned to Ti Kouka, freshened up a bit, and went into Omapere where we had made arrangements to take a water taxi across the bay to the sand dunes where we were to meet Andrew, proprietor of Sandtrails and take a ride in his dune buggy.  Andrew is a Maori whose ancestors were the first to come to New Zealand to Hokianga. 

He told us several stories of his people and shared with us some magical places in the dunes where the wind and sand have sculpted the earth.

The eastern side of the bay is completely different than the western side of the bay, both beautiful.

When we returned to Ti Kouka, Maria invited us to share dinner with them.  We spent a lovely evening upstairs in their home.  The view from the second floor is 180 degrees looking out at the Tasman Sea, across the treacherous bar into Hokianga Bay and down the bay as far as the eye can see.  Both Maria and George are Lions club members and have served in various cabinet posts with the NZ Lions club.  We exchanged a Colfax Lions Club pin for an Opononi Lions Club banner.  What a wonderful couple these folks are.  It so sweet and so sad to meet folks you really like and then say goodbye.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Ferry across Hokianga and Fierce Mosquitoes 

Once again, we were on the road heading north and thankful we had such beautiful weather the day before to do our land exploring.  Tuesday was cloudy with the expectation of rain. 

We drove through picturesque little towns, took a ferry across the mid-section of the Hokianga Bay, and wound up in a little campground in Waitiki.  The mosquitoes were everywhere and we spent most of the night swatting at them as they hummed around our ears.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach

The lighthouse is out here somewhere...right?

Yes, we see it!

Pacific and Tasman Meet With a Frenzy

After 10 minutes the fog rolls back in
The rain continued as we headed north to Cape Reinga.  Fortunately, our patience between rain and the fog paid off and for 10 minutes around 10:30 in the morning, we were rewarded with some great views of where the Tasman and the Pacific Ocean meet at the northern tip of the north island.

After our sight seeing at the Cape, we headed southwest to where the sand dunes meet 90 mile beach.  We took a lovely walk through the delta that meanders through the base of the dunes.  We dipped our toes in the Tasman sea and made our way back to our car.

Delta Meets the Sea on 90 Mile Beach

We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Rose and Dave and their son Tiua, a Maori family who are the guardians of the spirit trail and proprietors of the sand surfing business Ahikaa Adventures at the base of the dunes.
Dave 'N Rose N' Tiua - Guardians of the Spirit Trail

Thursday & Friday, December 16 & 17, 2010
Rain, rain go away!

Now that we had accomplished our northern most excursions, we headed south.  We returned to Kaitaia, a little city, where we knew we could get some screens for our van windows and resupply on a few groceries.  We headed back to the East coast, had some fish and chips in a harbor town of Mangonui and spent two nights in the Matauri Bay Camp Ground where we tried to stay dry as the rain drizzled, dripped, and dumped. 

Shell Strewn Beach

The Sun Peeks out for a Moment!

Rainbow Warrior Monument
The bay and islands were beautiful when we caught a glimpse of them between squalls.  We did take a few beach walks and hiked to the top of the hill behind our campsite where there was a memorial to the Rainbow Warrior.  The ship itself has been re-sunk not far from the campsite and supposed to be a great place to dive.

While we were in the campground, we met a nice couple from England, Carolyn and Simon  who are former dairy farmers, now in the business of building leisure activities.  They are in the process of developing an 18 hole golf course and have some other enterprises as well.  Someday when we get to England, we hope to stop by and see them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010
Keri Keri - Oldest stone building, Oldest wooden house

We left the campground in yet another rain storm and headed to the little town of Keri Keri.  It was a lovely little tourist town where we found a wonderful gluten and wheat free cafe.  The food was excellent.  What a treat!

First Stone House

First Wood House - hand hewn

Re-created Maori Shelters
The sun poked its head now and again while we toured the gardens and historic buildings. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010
Famous Public Toilets

We left Keri Keri and headed further south.  It's still raining!  We took a little side trip to the most famous public toilets in Kawa Kawa, New Zealand.  It was an artsy little town with a historic railway.  It was too wet to take a train ride, but we enjoyed the restroom!

After our pitstop in Kawa Kawa, we went to the marina in Opua and looked up our friends Gene and Gloria.  They were getting their boat ready to store on a mooring and then start on their road trip south.  We invited them to our campground for a bar-b-que, but first we had to find a campground where we had a covered area to get out of the rain. 

Not far from the Marina, we found a campground that fit the bill.  We spent a nice evening catching up.  We will see them again over the Christmas Holidays at the Pinewood camp when we celebrate the holidays with other cruising friends.

We have now been in New Zealand for three weeks!  The time is moving quickly.  We hope that the rain lets up so that we can do some more outdoor activites, including a boat trip through the Bay of Islands.

Happy Holidays!
This will probably be the last blog until after the holidays!  Hope you all have a wonderful season and a Happy New Year!  We miss you. With love, the 2 Sail R's, Roz and Russ