Thursday, January 24, 2008

Okains Bay part 2

Mostly I chose the early mornings to go walking, and climbed up to the far headland several times. Here I am looking back towards the camping ground... in the far bay. You can't see any campers as all the tents are well hidden within the pine trees, which gave shelter on the hot sunny days we had. At the time I was walking, you couldn't see many campers either as mostly they were still deep in their sleeping bags - unless of course they had young children!
From near little Okains Bay I took this photo of the little 'islands', from where you can hear lots of seabirds calling. One morning I got 'divebombed' by a seagull as I passed back through this bay... so I don't like your chances of getting close to the island, even at low tide!

But it sounded like the local Okains Bay museum should also be visited. This became my mission later in the morning on our last full day at the bay. If you left camp when the tide had gone out quite a bit, you could walk all the way up one side of the lagoon to the first bridge.

The historic nature of this area was apparent, with quite a few buildings dating from earlier times. The hillsides were very dry and barren. I was left pondering how much topsoil had been lost when the bush was all cleared from these hills.

There was a lot of bird life to observe walking up along the lagoon, and if you were cunning enough, you could also see some of the crabs before they heard you and scuttled back into their incredibly numerous holes.

Next, by crossing over the bridge, you came to a local metalled road that led all the way up alongside the riverbank, to a point just opposite the village itself. By using the Millennium footbridge, you could then reach the village.

The museum itself was quite amazing, with some very special Maori treasures inside.

There was an array of interesting old buildings, and I was especially taken by this wooden house.
There was a modern meeting house decorated with beautiful tukutuku panels and carvings, and a shed housed two waka that I was told are used on Waitangi Day.
Like many rural museums, there was an eclectic selection on display. One of the saddest display cases for me was one that contained five stuffed extinct huia. But there were a lot of beautiful Maori artifacts. If you visit Okains, make sure you get to the museum.

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