The Bay of Islands
The BOI is a must destination for travellers to Northland. But it should be noted that not all the attractions are on the water! We had spent a fabulous day on board Ipirihi overnight in the Bay, but on our way home I wanted to introduce Liz to a few other gems in the area.
First stop the toilets – as travellers toilets are often something we long to find – we are desperate even at times.
Kawakawa is the turn off to Paihia and the Bay when you are heading north. It used to be famous as the town where the train goes down the mainstreet. These days Kawakawa is more famous for its toilets (though the train still does occasionally run through the town).
Frederick Hundertwasser was an extraordinary Austrian artist and architect who had made the Bay of Islands his part time home. He offered to design some toilets and well, here they are.
|This is not the only thing in Kawakawa worth stopping for – take your time. After your sit, and the obligatory photo shoot, cross the road for some great shops.
The Trainspotter Café is one of Northland’s great cafés and always had reliable and great food, coffee and welcome.
The shops nearby, also adorned with Hundertwasser like forms, are also worth stopping in. This time I bought some great earings, and the Sweetgrass has some excellent local maori art.
Kerikeri is one of the oldest settlements in NZ. In the early days the only highway was the water and the Kerikeri basin provided safe anchorage, and was the natural place to build a settlement.
The Stone store is NZ oldest surviving stone building and was built in 1832-36 as a storehouse for the mission. After the mission’s closure in 1848 it was taken over by the Kemp family and leased by a succession of storekeepers. In 1976 the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which continued to operate it as a shop, bought it from the A.E. Kemp Estate. The building has had major conservation and renovation work and reopened for the public during 1998.
It still operates as a store – and stocks some amazing stuff, much of it similar to what you might have bought there 150 years ago.
Red Roofed Churches
When I came to NZ 30 years ago and travelled around Northland, one of the enduring images was of white wooden churches with red roofs which seem to dot the landscape.
The Garden at Kemp House
The Historic Places Trust has gone to great lengths to preserve this area, and one of the gems is not only Kemp House, but the garden around it.
Much like the Mission gardens must have been originally, there are orchards, vegetables, flowers all managed and tended carefully. One of the original pear trees still grows and has fruit – it is the oldest surviving fruit tree in NZ.
Wandering around the garden you get a picture of how resilient and self sufficient these pioneers had to be to survive and thrive in this new land.