Last week, James, Nick, Kelly and I all headed up to the North Island. After some urban adventures, including the World Wearable Arts show, we headed a bit off the beaten path to the East Cape, an area that none of us had ever been to before. It's in the middle of the length of the North Island, on a piece of land that juts East out into the Pacific Ocean. It's famous for beautiful carved Whare Nui on Maori marae. (Taking photos of these can be considered disrespectful, but there are plenty of on-line images and I'd highly recommend checking out these gorgeous, meaningful meeting houses). The East Cape is known as a centre of Maori pride, tradition and activism. It's also known for it's surf, beaches and remote lifestyle. It's where two well-known movies were filmed, Whale Rider and Boy.
It was, indeed, a place with a remote, laid back feel where the beauty and strength of Maori culture thrives and rural communities seem tightly knit. Everyone we met along the way was friendly, every corner we turned was stunning.
We picked up a tourism brochure that seemed a bit different than all the others. With minimal marketing, it had just the kind of information you might want - what to see in each little town, where to find ice cream, which beach is known for surfing and which for snorkeling. And it started off with a poem. Here's a bit of the poem and I'll let my photos say the rest!
"Set your mind and compass East, traveller.
Point your brow into the morning sun,
take your watch off,
recycle your cell phone
|Lake Waikarimoana in Te Urewera National Park|
|You can barely make out our white station wagon (bottom right corner) where we left it down below.|
|Gorgeous forest of Te Urewera National Park|
|Root base of one the world's largest Rata tree.|
And now, leaving the forest and heading out to the coast line.
|Setting up camp.|
|Over the edge of the pier to nowhere.|
|Life's pretty rough around here.|
|That way for a lunch spot!|
|View from the tent, early morning.|
|East cape light house and Kelly enjoying the view.|
|A stop for coffee and a new friend.|
|The last night of camping was a wonderful one!|
|Ferrying back to the South Island on the Interislander|
Me? Back to work tomorrow? HA!
I'm still on the East Cape...