slivka.com > Trips > New Zealand 2002 > Sun Dec-22

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Sun Dec-22 Waitangi Trust, Fly to Pauanui (Coromandel Peninsula), Hike Broken Hills Valley, Puka Park Resort (Backroads Day 3)
After an early breakfast we walked to the Waitangi Trust. This land was donated to the people of New Zealand by Lord Bledisloe in the 1930s, and the land includes the Treaty House, where in 1840 the Waitangi Treaty was signed. The house has been restored, and the grounds include a Meeting House and one of the largest war canoes ever built. It took two years to construct, from two Kauri trees, and was prepared in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the treaty signing in 1940.

We took a 1.5 hour flight on a Piper six seater two engine low wing monoplane to Pauanui. We flew over Paihia Beach Resort and Urupukapuka Island (our hike the previous day), and buzzed the "Hole in the Rock" -- a very popular tourist attraction -- before we turned south. We cruised at between 1500 and 2000 feet, and near land there was often a bit of buffeting. When we landed in Pauanui, we were met by Damian, who would be our tour guide that afternoon and for the next two days. After lunch at Kar-Lees, we put on sunscreen (burn time was 12 minutes!), and then hopped into vans for a 20 minute drive to a private trail that Damian and his father had blazed many years ago. We hiked through a field and then mostly through a jungle/forest, where we encountered several interesting flora and fauna: Kauri trees, a young walking stick insect, snap jack (a vine whose young shoots taste a bit like asparagus), and two short-fin eels. The eels where quite tame, having been fed over the years by Damian and his father, so you could try to pick them up -- though they were very slippery!

We hiked back to the vehicles and drove to the Puka Resort, where we at dinner -- very nice! We had Pacific oysters and Char-Grilled Lamb Fillets with Spiced Kumara mash (Kumara are like sweet potatoes, and were the staple cultivated starch of the Maori) for starters, and then Crispy Skin Salmon on sauteed potatoes with asparagus spears and a lime and soy dressing for our main course, accompanied by the 2001 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. Dessert was vanilla creme brulee with passion fruit sorbet and pistachio biscotti!

Rooms for 2 nights:
Puka Park Resort
Pauanui Beach 2850
Ph: 64-7-864-8088
Fax: 64-7-864-8112
http://www.pukapark.co.nz

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