|Today was a long and busy day - usually it's one or the other. We started north along the South Pacific coast then turned inland to go to the Kauri Museum. This is primarily a forestry museum, focused on the Kauri tree and it's resin, called gum or amber. Though we have been in several similar museums in the US and, there were quite a few exhibits and tools that we hadn't seen before. These trees are the second largest in the world as measured in board-feet of lumber, behind the California Redwoods. But the wood is much more useable, producing materials for durable shipbuilding and beautiful furniture. The amber once discovered caused a rush similar to a gold rush for several decades. It was used in several products, such as paints, varnishes and even linoleum. It also can be designed into beautiful jewelry and household items or decorations. The museum also had other sections with pictures of the area over the decades, tributes to war participants and casualties, and diagram as depicting to rural tradition of the area.
We opted to drive the "long" route to Paihia, which took us through the Kauhi forest region and along the western or Tasman Sea coast. The forests provided some very nice walks to see some if the largest Kauhi tress still living. Unfortunately, only about 1% of the original Kauhi forest still remains, victim of over-logging. Efforts to replant areas are hindered by an infestation that attacks the young trees. This drive also provided 20 kilometers of the most twisted section of hilly road that we've been on! But it also proved long stretches of beautiful scenery, including sea and river views.
We arrived at our campground just as the sun set, so a quick reconnoiter and inside for a light dinner.