The Kauri Museum in Matakohe wasn’t officially on our list but James Mum had raved about it so we decided to make a quick stop on our way up to seeing Tane Mahuta.
Luck was on our side the whole of our trip and it got off to a particularly auspicious start when we arrived at The Kauri Museum to find that it was Settlers Day.
Not only does the museum come alive on Settlers Day (literally – they had real people in with the very lifelike looking models surrounding them) but it’s also free to get in.
On this day there is also a whole bunch of free activities and entertainment.
There was gum sanding which was run by a volunteer who looked so much like my late Pop in both manners, looks and attire that it almost bought me to tears.
There was flower arranging where the children got to pick their own flowers and have them tied up for them. There were also a range of what my children would call “olden day games” like bobbing for apples.
Now while Settlers Day is clearly the day you want to aim for (mark it on the calendar for next year people) there is loads to do on any day you come.
The Kauri Museum tells the tales of early settlers to New Zealand through the lens of the Kauri and everywhere you look there are tales to read, photos to see and relics of an earlier, simpler time.
For Krystal it was the chance to match up trees to the book that her Grandad had given her.
The thing that struck me was the colour – there is gleaming Kauri everywhere and everything takes on a rich golden glow from the gum and the logs. The kids were forever grabbing my camera to go and take photos of new treasures.
There are huge staircases that wind off to yet more treasures and awe inspiringly huge kauri logs that tell the history of the trees that predate us so significantly.
You can find out more about the museum here – it is well worth a look.
Dargaville for lunch
After the Museum the kids were getting a bit peckish so we made a quick stop in Dargaville for lunch at the River Road Takeaways. It’s a great little spot to stop with some really yummy food and the friendliest and funniest guy I’ve ever met at a dairy (seriously, have a stop and chat to him – he’s great!)
There is a big tree to climb for the kids and a picnic table to sit at and eat your fish and chips while you watch the tractors roll by the Wairoa River.
Kai Iwi Lakes
Now remembering that our first stop on the first leg of our Northland trip was supposed to be Tane Mahuta we were running pretty late by this point but when we saw the signs for Kai Iwi Lakes and got tipped off by Marie over on the Facebook page that it was well worth visiting we couldn’t resist turning off .
It was a relatively quick detour because we were now seriously late and it wasn’t the weather for swimming so didn’t stay long but glad we went down and got a glimpse of these great lakes.
It’s definitely Kiwi country down there so would be utterly magic at night when you can hear the Kiwi.