Heather Hapeta lives in Aotearoa-New Zealand: real travel, real adventures, real stories, real photos. Recent destinations Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and Hong Kong – now NZ destinations due to COVID travel restrictions
Last week I joined a group to walk Te Ara o nga Tupuna – a Māori heritage trail through downtown Wellington, following the old 1840s shoreline.
Our section of the walk took about two hours and started at Pipitea Marae. If you cannot join such a tour, the visitor iSite Centre beside the public library has a brochure that you too can follow. (‘The path of our ancestors’ includes a driving trail around Miramar Peninsula.)
Appropriately the pou at the top of Pipitea Marae, is of Maui – the well-known trickster of Polynesian mythology. It is appropriate as Maui is credited with fishing up the North Island, and the mouth of this fish is Wellington Harbour. The first Polynesian navigators of this area were Kupe and Ngahue who camped on the southern area of the harbour. (Seatoun)
Pipitea Marae was built in the early 1980s on the site of an old village overlooking the harbour and close to fresh water supplies and pipi beds. Pipi are a popular shellfish among many Kiwi. The 1840 shoreline has changed considerably, mostly due to reclamation, which has destroyed many traditional food sources. Other changes, near Waitangi Park have been due to earthquakes which lifted the land.
Plaques set in the footpath show where the water used to reach. Walking along Lambton Quay, the main shopping area in Wellington, we hear stories about the names of many streams which were used particularly for women during pregnancy and childbirth.
Northland has it all – you are spoilt for choice and today it’s gum diggers history, fish, swimming, and great accommodation. I check out the fabulous, add-to-your-list Kahoe Farms Hostel and head off to the historic seaside village of Mangonui – home of the famous Mangonui Fish Shop. Browse the little craft shops and walk the Heritage Trail around the village. ( for a map see here, or buy one at the little visitors centre.)
The walkway is dedicated to the men and women, Maori and European, who sailed vast oceans to make a new life. The Polynesian navigator Kupe visited the area about 900 AD and later, another canoe, the Ruakaramea, was guided into a harbour by a shark. The canoes chief, Moehuri, named the harbour Mangonui, which means ‘large shark’.
This was known as a safe harbour for whaling vessels by the late 1700s and in 1831 the first European settlers arrived. By the mid-1800s, Mangonui was a centre for whalers and traders with sawmilling, flax and gum industries flourishing.
Now, it’s better known as the home of the ‘world-famous’ fish and chip shop’ but I’m sad to say, for me, the tagline did not live up to its food on the day I was there – but as it gets many rave reviews perhaps I was just there at the wrong time!
After the disappointing lunch I continue in my rental car onto the lovely Doubtless Bay Villas in Cable Bay and where I immediately head for the golden sands and blue water.
Travelling alone it’s not always easy to go swimming: where do you put your car and accommodation keys? Mostly, in NZ, I just leave them with my towel, but when the keys belong to someone else I find it easier to pin them inside my swimming gear, or on a chain around my neck – what do you do when alone and wanting to swim at the beach?
I spend the evening, night and morning relaxing, reading, just soaking up the view and great accommodation before heading off for Kaitaia and the Mainstreet Lodge, taking a side road and stopping for lunch at the fantastic Karikari Estate. For wine buffs make sure you have a sober driver when you tackle the samples of tasting wines.
I continue along SH10 on to Awanui then turn right and head north for Gumdiggers Park , an authentic Kauri Gum digging site that’s over 100 years old.
Amazingly, 40,000 to 150,000 year old Buried Kauri Forests have been exposed by the gum diggers and the Gumdiggers’ village, equipment & recreated shelters brings the stories to life.
Newly formed tracks show extensive ancient kauri deposits and the bus tour tourists who were also visiting told me they too enjoyed the walk around the very natural park.
With the scenery around Northland, as I said in a earlier blog with other photos – no wonder TV shows like The Bachelor and Top Model have used this area for some of their programmes.
My number one ‘must do’ in Gujarat’s largest city, Ahmedabad, is the “Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad”
Ahmedabad is the former capital and is sometimes known as its old name – Karnavati: it is also the fifth largest city in India, with a city population of approximately 5.6 million
On the banks of the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate, and was named after him.
Our guide tells us that according to legend, the Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Really impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to build it in this forest area on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad.
This old city, with many of its original walls, is fascinating, but not a place most travellers will explore on their own. It often seemed we were in peoples’ backyards, as indeed we were. Walking round here alone I think I’d be lost in the labyrinth of streets for hours, if not days.
However with the guides, all who are volunteers with a love of history and architecture, I didn’t get lost as we weaved through the various ‘pols’. These are unique neighbourhoods around a cluster of houses with narrow streets, common courtyard and community wells. Each pol was, and sometime still is, protected by gates and secret passages: this is why you need a guide!
They not only told us about the different buildings, but also some of the history, art, and religious and or cultural traditions. As I have said – this is a must do.
The walk starts at Swaminarayan Mandir (8am) and finishes at Manek Chowk at 1030.
These photos just give you a tiny taste: I loved this so much I went twice in 3 days, each time with different guides who imparted a slightly different flavour to the walk.