I’ve started adding captions to some of the photos, so look there for interesting tidbits.
For the past couple of days we’ve been touring the northern end of the north island of New Zealand. This place is incredibly beautiful! Sort of like California, only greener and a lot less populated.
Today we had a prearranged “walking tour” on the Coromandel Peninsula. It was set up by our travel agent, and we really had no idea what we were in for. It turned out that our guide was local legend Doug Johansen, a.k.a. Kiwi Dundee. He absolutely lives up to the nickname. Karel found a brief (outdated) biography (http://www.kiwiphile.org/mar1990.html) that gives you some of the background of this guy. He built many of the trails he took us on in what is now the Coromandel Forest Preserve. The area was the site of some of the richest gold mines in the world back in the late 19th century, followed closely by wide-scale logging of the ancient kauri trees. Doug built the trails in the 1970s as part of his efforts to popularize the concept of eco-tourism, and thereby gain protection for the forest. He took us into old gold mine tunnels and regaled us with plant lore and history lessons.
He also delighted in freaking us out with bugs, making up tall tales, pulling little pranks, and telling off-color jokes. It was very entertaining as well as educational, and we find ourselves wishing we’d signed up for a week with him.This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013