While here in New Zealand, we've done a bit of traveling; mostly day trips around this area of the North Island. And just this weekend, we went to Rotorua, the geothermal center of the country. But we didn't go to see the bubbling mud, but to see the redwoods.
These massive trees were planted in the early 1900's in an effort to restore the ravaged natural forests. But the climate isn't quite right and the trees produced softwood, instead of the hardwood that is produced by trees in the California redwood forests.
The Redwood Treewalk is within the Whakarewarewa Forest, a 5600 hectare (13,840 acres) outdoor sports paradise with walking, biking, horse riding, running trails. The Treewalk takes advantage of these giant trees, with a 1770' walkway connecting 22 of the trees with 23 swaying suspension bridges. Starting out at about 20' above ground, the sections gradually incline to an almost 40' height! And you will be happy to know that the trees have not been hurt by the platforms and suspension bridges, as the attachments are all hi-tensile webbing that is adjusted as the trees grow.
Yet even with my dislike of heights and the fact that my knees to to jelly if I even look over a 6' high bank, I managed to walk the bridges, not once, but twice.
The second time was for the night walk when the forest becomes a fairyland of lights. David Trubridge Design has partnered with the park to create 30 enormous hanging lights that depict three iconic birds' feathers - the miromiro tomtit, the New Zealand falcon or kārearea, and the owl called a ruru or morepork. The lights hang between the trees, seemingly suspended in space, throwing weird shadows on the ground beneath them. And some seem to encircle the tree trunks, throwing the lights up and down the giants.
As dusk fell, one by one the lights came on and by the time it was completely dark, the forest was magical, with colored lights in the tall, New Zealand palms that cover the ground beneath the trees.
A truly magical experience!
And now it's just a month until I head back to the States. Being in one place for the past few months has been good. It's been a time to relax and recover from a couple of hectic and stressful years.
Now it's time to get my life back on track and see where that track takes me.