After our night in New Plymouth to see the Festival of Lights we set off to explore the other coastal parts of Taranaki. On our previous visits to this region we have only ever got as far as New Plymouth and then either returned northward to the Waikato or once we had a hair-raising return trip via the internal Forgotten Highway road.
That was way back in our early days as kiwis, long before we had the bus or camper. We were travelling in a small people carrier with our 3 kids and my parents, so a total of 7 people and an old trailer to carry all our luggage. Needless to say, the car was cramped, stops had to be as often as possible – but then again not TOO often as it took so long to get everyone in and out of the car’s multiple layers of fold-down seats – and the luggage got dustier and dustier in the trailer. Then the trailer fell apart – well pretty much… the wheels had an issue with staying on, which is generally not very helpful. Yep – that was a memorable trip!
So back to our Taranaki ventures. It was New Year’s Eve and our plan was to travel around some of the South Taranaki coast and find a nice place to camp up and see in the New Year. One thing we’d spotted on the map that we were both keen to go and see was the historic Cape Egmont Lighthouse.
So yes, this is NOT Cape Egmont Lighthouse. It is a lighthouse that looks like the real one, and is just smidgen away from Cape Egmont itself – it’s the Historic Cape Light & Museum – built to house the original 1850’s lighthouse prismatic lens when the Cape Egmont lighthouse was updated with a modern rotating beacon in 1999.
For a small donation visitors can climb up the small replica lighthouse, with each floor providing interesting historical facts on the original lighthouse, early shipping in the region, plus an exhibit on a famous once-local resident; Lord Ernest Rutherford, whose family once ran a nearby flax mill. Rutherford was a New Zealand born scientist who became the father of nuclear physics when he was the first man to split the atom. He also discovered how to date the age of the Earth, invented the first nuclear detector, and his early experiments are said to have lead to the modern smoke detector. The region is obviously superbly proud of its links to this esteemed scientist and the museum provides an interesting display of his life and his family’s life in Taranaki.
Just a few kilometres along the coast from the lighthouse museum sits the real, actual and still working; Cape Egmont Lighthouse – standing proudly looking out over the coast with the ever-impressive Mt. Taranaki in the background.
The lighthouse was built in London and the segments shipped out to New Zealand in 1865. It was first erected on an island near Wellington but caused confusion to shipping as there was another lighthouse already working further down the coast. After dismantling and shipping to Taranaki the lighthouse became operation as Cape Egmont lighthouse in August 1881 when the light was lit to help ships to pass safely.
The cast-iron tower stands 20m high and 33m above sea level, perched on top of a prominent mound.
The 50watt lamp flashes once every 8 seconds and can be seen for 19 nautical miles (35 kilometres)
The light was first electrified in 1951 and the lighthouse keeper was transferred to another station due to staff shortages. In July 1956 the vessel Calm grounded off Cape Egmont during a gale. The keepers then returned to the lighthouse until it was fully automated in 1986.
The lighthouse competes to steal the show in its picturesque landscape which includes the backdrop of a volcanic mountain and some truly beautiful coastline. Although I’m sure in bad weather the lighthouse would win hands-down as a structure of strength and necessary function that’s stood here for 140 years to help nearby ships and vessels stay safe.
The next post will cover where we end up camping for New Year’s Eve.
Since we came to live in New Zealand, and probably even before, I heard so much about the Bay of Islands that it obviously had to go onto our Must-See list (and my personal bucket list).
So on our first trip ever up to Northland and the Far North (is that the opposite of the Deep South?!) I was eagerly anticipating our arrival in the Bay of Islands.
It did not disappoint.
Just sharing my view from bed this morning…..
I’ve been out of phone signal lately ( yesterday we went up Cape Reinga at the Northern point of NZ) so I’ll have to do full blog posts when I get home.
Last night the Kiwi Blog Bus freedom camped at Horeke, Hokianga Harbour.
We are next to the Horeke Tavern which has been serving beer since 1826 ( that’s like real old in New Zealand terms!) and I recommend you all should visit this utterly charming place.
I’ve had such a peaceful night with just birds waking me this morning to a stunning view.
I have lots more pics to download when we get home but I’ll leave you with these:
Next on our plans…. We’re actually heading back to the Bay of Islands.
We haven’t been over to Russell yet but an invitation was kindly extended to us from Angela & Don of Russell – Orongo Bay Holiday Park to come and stay there.
We met them at the motorhome show in Hamilton last year and it’s taken us this long to get up here!
The 14 acre holiday park sounds amazing and i’m looking forward to checking out all the facilities. I’m so pleased we can go with our canine friends on board too!
I’m excited to get over there (on the ferry) and explore historic Russell and its beautiful surroundings.
So we’ve skipped to night 4 at Paihia, Bay of Islands.
(Night 3 was beachside at Pataua, Whangarei Heads, when a blissful day playing in the water was followed by a noisy rain squall rudely interrupting our sleep at 5am).
The day got off to a wet start and we travelled up to The Bay of Islands with low cloud, no views and my disappointment looming.
However Read More…
Free park over in Whangerai town centre down near the river
Lovely historic town basin, nicely renovated with lots of international boats moored up
Great, and very handy, playground for the ten-year-old!
Dinner – an excellent veg curry, spot on if I do say so myself
Weather – just cooling off this evening, has been very humid all day with the threat of rain but nothing arriving
Mood – just fine and dandy
The weather has finally turned, the daffodils and lambs are out and we decided we were well overdue a trip in the bus (and a post on the blog!).
We haven’t had to venture very far to find this little gem of an overnight stop either.
Just a short drive to the lovely town of Matamata, just around the corner from the Hobbiton movie set, and then 2km up the road to Firth Tower Museum.
We have parked up for a very friendly amount of $10 (including power) and I must say it’s a very beautiful spot.
We’ll be looking around the museum tomorrow and i’ll bring you the best of the visit in my next post. For now, I’m off to enjoy a long glass of cold cider!
From the Kiwi Annisons Archives:
There is a beautiful sandy beach in a stunning Coromandel bay surrounded by rolling green hills, where you can camp just a stones throw from the water’s edge (and I do mean that literally) and the payment for this paradise…
Just $5 a night.
Seeing as we haven’t been away in the Kiwi Blog Bus for a wee while I thought I would blog today about my beautiful home town of Cambridge as it’s certainly somewhere I’d like to visit if I didn’t live here!
This is not meant to be a full and comprehensive guide to the town, rather a few of my personal pictures that I have taken over the few years we’ve enjoyed living here.
If you want to learn more about this very historic New Zealand town then check out the museum website.
And for those of you that have driven through Cambridge on State Highway 1 and not bothered to stop for a look… this is what you missed:
From the Kiwi Annison archives:
In deepest North Island, not far from the steep volcanic slopes of Mt. Taranaki, there is a road that leads you through isolated hills, wild landscapes and past pioneering monuments.
The Forgotten World Highway, otherwise known as State Highway 43, is 150km of winding road leading from Stratford, near the Egmont National Park, to Taumarunui in the Central Plateau.