One of the many highlights of visiting New Zealand was going into the Kauri Forest. The Kauri tree covered most of New Zealand until it was settled by the English a couple hundred years ago. Now, there are only pockets of the Kauri Forest left in the entire country.
If it wasn’t for our tour guide, Billy, walking in the forest would have been just another another stroll in the woods. Billy made the forest come alive.
Billy is from one of the many Maori tribes, which is the indigenous people of New Zealand. He shared legends of his tribe, songs from the Maori language, and history of the Kauri Forest. The largest Kauris and the largest area of intact kauri forest are found in the Waipoua forest. Waipoua forest was declared a sanctuary in 1952 to stop logging operations. One of the many sights was The Father of the Forest, or Te Matua Ngahere, which may be the oldest tree in New Zealand. Environmentalists estimate the tree to be anywhere from 1500-4000 years old. The trunk of Te Matua Ngahere is almost 54 feet around. Standing next to this tree was awe-inspiring.
The two hour tour seemed to be over within minutes! At the end of the tour Billy asked us what part of the tour was the best. I answered, “You were the best part.” And that is 100% true! A good tour guide can make or break a tour. Here are a few more pictures from the tour of the Kauri Forest:
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