Timber Milling History of New Zealand
Follow The Traces on Auckland's West Coast

The timber milling industry in the West of Auckland came to life with the European migration stream choosing New Zealand as their new home. For two decades between 1840 and 1860 kauri timber was looged, milled and shipped. The slide show follows still visible traces.

Historic path of the timber tramline

The slides above follow the historic path of the New Zealand forest giants. Above the Kite-Kite Falls in Piha Valley these ancient trees were cut and sent on there way. The track entrance is marked with a tree trunk as memorial to the timber industry of West Auckland.

The train passed Karekare Beach at Karekare Point. Sometimes the wind coming from the Tasman Sea sets remaining bolts free. From this point views stretch freely over a vast sandy beach towards Whatipu. Yet following the tree's journey along the cliffs past Cowan Point to Tunnel Point the landscape changes remarkably. Entering through the tunnel parts of the old steam engine remain deserted in a sheltered kettle. Surrounded by cliffs and wetland a campsite gives hikers and trampers an enchanted place to rest. Basic facilities invite to stay over night. Camping there needs a permission which can be obtained through the  Auckland Regional Council.

A short  video called 'Huia Whatipu Stories' gives historic glimpses into the life of immigrants, between 1840 and 1860, working within the early timber milling industry.

Today the slow growing kauris have their deserved respect and are protected. Despite this they are in danger. The kauri dieback disease has no cure yet is spreading. New Zealander and tourist alike are asked for their help protecting these ancient tree giants. Many trees already died or show signs of infection.

The disease that infects the trees is often transmitted through soil traces on walking shoes and other tramping gear. For this reason spray stations are installed at affected areas and all New Zealand forest visitors are asked to clean and spray their shoework. 

Nowadays kauri wood is recovered in swamps and used in traditional carvings and to produce New Zealand gifts like photo albums, bowls and place mats which are on offer in various online gift shops.  Traditional wooden utensils are made by talented carvers. The reason behind that is these giants become ancient 1 thousand to 2 thousand years and older. Which incidentally gives a clue aabout their growth rate that is very slow.

The three last slides document an outing where we finished our walk at Wonga-Wonga Bay in Whatipu. The place where the coastal journey of the mighty kauri ended to be shipped for trading purposes. We caught one of the most amazing moments at the beach. It lasted only about five minutes when the hot summer's day was interrupted by rain. The meeting of wind and rain with this extraordinary natural light put the bay into an fascinating atmosphere.

Wooden New Zealand travel gifts

NZ rimu wood coaster
NZ confectionery

More wooden souvenirs ...

Manukau Harbour

Armour Bay
Mills Bay
Cornwallis Beach
Kaitarakihi Bay

Waitemata Harbour

Point Chevalier

West Coast

Muriwai Beach

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