The tour was really wonderful in spite of the rain that seemed to follow (or precede) us from point to point along the way. There was myself, Mohammed (from Abu Dhabi) and Eileen (from Germany) on the tour led by Stan of Bush and Beach Tours. Our first stop was the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Rainforest where we had the opportunity to see wonderful vistas looking back toward Auckland, the Wiatemata Harbour, Rangitoto Island and the Pacific Ocean as well as looking the other way toward the Manukau Harbour (Auckland's second harbor) and the Tasman Sea. We also had time to wander through the visitor center and the outdoor boardwalks to learn a bit about the local flora and fauna. I'm personally glad I never saw a weta any closer than I did through the glass at the visitor center! I've had a hard time choosing photos from this tour but what follows are a few representing the wonderful sights we saw and/or the things we did on this four hour tour (snack included!).
Rainbow over the rainforest as seen from the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Rainforest, North Island, New Zealand.
Map showing red dot representing Arataki Visitor Centre and where we were when the photo above the map was taken. Our tour continued along a southwesterly course from that spot.
We luckily had a break in the rain for our afternoon snack break which included cookies and a choice of tea, coffee (instant, I had tea!), water and/or juice... all the comforts of home except for brewed coffee.
New Zealand Kauri trees were harvested all over New Zealand for the wood which is durable and beautiful. There are now protected forests where the trees are coming back. This one would have been over one thousand years old at the time it was harvested, perhaps several thousand years old. We saw 'young' trees that were 'only' four to six hundred years old that were about one third the diameter of this tree stump. I asked Mohammed, Eileen and Stan to stand in this photo to give a sense of scale to the tree trunk... Mohammed moved just as I snapped the photo.
This photo was taken from the van while stopped at a traffic light en route back to Auckland at the end of the day's tour.