Monday, April 21, 2014

Kawau Island March 25-30

After a very blustery sail from Waiheke Island we arrive at Kawau Island and anchor in Mansion House Bay. Kawau Island is north of Auckland in Hauriaki Gulf. The island was once a mining settlement (mid 1800’s) and later became the home of New Zealand Governor George Grey (1862).

The Mansion house was first built as the mining superintendent’s home during Kawau’s copper mining days. After Gov. Grey purchased the home he enlarged it as pictured. He was a collector of plants and animals as was common for wealthy Victorian gentlemen. He planted hundreds of different trees and plants and introduced many exotic and native animal species to the island, including zebras (they all died because it was too cold for them), peacocks and wallabies, (they are still around).

Of course this caused havoc to the native species of plants and animals and work now continues to restore the natural vegetation in the reserve. The house and grounds are now a Historic Reserve administrated by the Department of Conservation.  We toured the house and it is beautifully restored with period furniture and artwork, all very interesting, (no pictures were allowed so none on the blog).
Like most of the island here there are numerous walking trails and we spend a couple of days exploring the interesting floral/fauna and views they provided. Many of the trails have you imagining you are walking through a forest primeval, with a canopy of massive fernwoods, pine and  Manuka trees. One trail was especially interesting as it showcases a very large Redwood tree planted by Gov. Grey in 1864. I hope the pictures I post will do it justice.  

We heard from a kiwi friend of ours that if you go to shore at dusk you can perhaps see the wallabies as they forage for food.  With camera in hand we head to shore. As there is a wallaby fence around the grounds we hike out beyond it, nothing…. I then leave Mel and hike further up the trail while he stays put. I am gone for about 10 minutes and when I come back he has seen two. We then continue to stroll through the open field (where they are said to come out) but nothing. So I with the camera missed out.

After a couple of days exploring here we sail out to North Bay. On the way we take a day sail to test out our new light air sail, it works great. Along the way we see Orca’s two pairs of mother and baby, and our first sighting of blue penguins.  I get a couple of great shots of the Orca’s but the penguins are shy so the picture is not so great.

We settle in at North Cove as we have a very special invitation to meet Lin and Larry Pardey. If you are a cruiser you may have heard of this couple. They have written several books and articles on world cruising. They live here on Kawau Island and we meet them for drinks at their home. They have a lovely home overlooking this beautiful bay. We have a nice evening sharing experiences and getting to know each other. While they may have several thousand of sea miles under their keel and us, uhh, not nearly as many, we still have common experiences to share and we certainly listened to their words of experience.





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