|The Paparoa Store, established in 1884|
|Those were the days, when banks were banks! It seems very grand for a tiny village but would once have serviced farms and villages for miles around|
This was my first visit to Dargaville which lies on the Kaipara River, a fairly muddy looking river it has to be said, and the town is probably not the most exciting of places to visit. Like many small towns in New Zealand it has a rather dismal main street with many empty shops and an air of decline about it. Nevertheless it has some pleasant residential areas, some lovely old villas and makes a perfect base to visit some beautiful places nearby.
|Looking along the Kaipara River and the town of Dargaville|
|And looking south along the river from the Dargaville Museum|
|A replica gum diggers hut at the Dargaville Museum|
|Kiwi on display at the museum|
The next morning dawned fine and sunny, perfect weather to explore. My first stop was at Bayly's Beach, ....north of Dargaville. Bayly's Beach is part of the spectacular Ripiro Beach, an unbroken 107 kms, or 66 miles long, running down the west coast of the north island. It is longer than the more famous, but incorrectly named, 90 Mile Beach. The beach is a designated road so 4 wheel drive vehicles are permitted to drive on it but must observe the usual road rules. You need to be careful, though, since many a car has become bogged in the damp sand. I don't have a 4 wheel drive so just parked near the beach and walked. With high cliffs of lignite behind me, long breakers curling onto the shore, the wind blowing sand into eddys around me and nobody else on the beach as far as I could see, it was wild and wonderful. I sat in the dunes for quite some time mesmerised by the surf, the sea, and the sea birds squabbling and calling to each other until it was time to go and explore some more of Northland which I will write about in my next post. So far it had been the perfect day on the road.
|Above and below: The glorious Bayly's Beach...not a soul around, just me and the birds, paradise!|