Before Auckland and Wellington became the country’s hub of economic activity, it was Kerikeri and the Bay of Island’s that were the centre of European activity in New Zealand. The region’s history dates back to 1769, when Captain James Cook, the first European to visit, named it the Bay of Islands.
Kerikeri is also known as the “Cradle of the Nation”, having the country’s oldest surviving wooden building – Kemp House, built in 1821, and the oldest surviving stone building – Stone Store, built in 1832. If you are ever in the region, the Kerikeri basin and its Mission Station is worth a visit – make sure you take the guided tour. The stories of hardship and resilience faced by the pioneering missionaries (and their families) who first settled the area and built sustaining relationships with the local Maori Tribes are impressive. I’m not sure that I could have done what they did. They were very special and strong willed people. It is said that it was these events when Maori’s met Missionaries that changed New Zealand’s history forever.
Not far along the road from the Mission Station is the spectacular Rainbow Falls. These 27m falls are surrounded by untouched native forest and tumble into a beautifully protected pool below, easily accessible by a paved walkway. I wish we had carried our swimmers on the day that we visited. We would not have hesitated to take a dip and swim beneath them.
I jokingly said to Anne as we walked toward the falls from the car park….“I better see a rainbow”. And guess what……………….I did!