On Christmas Day we tramped from Bog Inn Hut up to the summit of Mt Pureroa. At 1200m, the mountain is unusual for its relatively brief and gentle (if not maintained) trek to the top. From the car park at around 800m elevation, it takes less than two hours to reach the summit, which I’m told offers brilliant views on a clear day (weather being despondent, this was something we were unable to verify)
From there, we returned to the Bog Inn car park, and continued on the 26km drive through Pureora Forest Park to the park headquarters (and en route to Taumarunui in a slightly indirect way). The unsealed park road has several interesting POIs along the way, including:
- An abandoned crawler tractor from the 50s
- Vintage steam Hauler
- New Zealand’s largest totara tree
- Forest Tower
- Buried Forest
- Tree top protest site
But more importantly, it also hosts the ‘Centre of the North Island’. As we drove towards this exciting destination through gravelly bumps leaving an extensive cloud of Pureora dust behind us, we pondered what the ‘Centre’ really meant. “I guess it’s the geographical centre”, Beau conjectured. “So, you know, if you took a giant cardboard cut-out of the North Island and hang it at different edges from a string, and drew a line from that point to the bottom, you would find the centre of gravity at the intersection”
“That’s complicated”, I muse. “You’d need to take into account density and height of terrain as well”. “Maybe,” replies Beau. “Of course the North Island is some 1000km long, so if it’s a scale sized 1m long model, even Mt Ruapehu would only be 2mm high.”
We discussed the intricities of the meaning of the centre, as we trundled along. This was deep stuff.
Finally we came to a turn off, and much like our journey to Bog Inn Hut, the roads were minor and unmapped, making it easy to take a wrong turn.
But, we persevered.
And then we found it.
The Centre of the North Island.
It was every bit as awesome as I expected it to be.
At the end of a 5 minute forest walk, was a small obelisk marking the significance of this site. One side of the obelisk states how the centre was located – “We took a cardboard cut-out of the north Island, and hung it up by a string…”.
So, we have been to where few New Zealanders have, to the centre of the North Island. And it was determined not through google maps, or by invoking a function call to ‘Object.Centre()’, but the good old fashioned way.
And somewhere, in someone’s garage, there must still be the original cardboard cut-out used to find it.