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Written on: Sunday May 25th, 2008

Instead of going straight from Paihia to Auckland, I hopped off in Opononi, a place strangely infamous for having had a dolphin named Opo that lived in its harbor in the 50's! (We watched a very interesting video on it in the information center haha)

It was a wooonderful place! I stayed in a really nice little hostel, called Globetrekkers, with a girl from New Caledonia and an old American couple, as well as a guy from Hamburg and girl from England the last night. It was by far the friendliest place I've stayed! 

Omapere/Opononi/Hokianga is where the Maori first arrived in New Zealand, and it is a GORGEOUS place! The first night I did a tour called "Footprints" which is a night walk through the Waipoua forest to see the ancient kaori trees (Tane Mahuta or "Lord of the Forest", which is the largest tree in teh world--by surface area of trunk, and is 2500 years old...also the "Four Sisters"--4 kauri that remarkably are surviving all next to each other--and the "Father of the Forest" which is 4500 years old and has a trunk 17m around!!) It was a great tour, and our Maori guides said Maori prayers and sang Maori songs while giving us a lot of itneresting information about the forest, the trees, and the history and legends of the area. The next day I explored the area, walking around a scenic reserve up high on the peninsula at the edge of the harbor and the Tasman, and walking along the gorgeous coast which I pretty much had to myself except for a couple fishermen and an odd family of 2 people, 3 dogs, and a goat!