The Bay of Islands

Trip Start Jan 25, 2008
Trip End Nov 16, 2008

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
YHA Paihia

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, November 14, 2008

I had a very peaceful and deep sleep last night and even had the luxury of sleeping in this morning until 9:00. wow, was that nice. I got up feeling refreshed and eager to begin the next leg of my Northland expedition, which would involve me rejoining the MAGIC bus for the remainder of my trip, and taking it north about another hour and a half to the beautiful vacation area of the Bay of Islands. my base for the next three days would be Paihia, a cute beachy little town in the heart of the BOI, at the YHA Paihia hostel--which by the way, had been rated 5 stars so I was expecting to be impressed!

while I was waiting at a picnic table at the Whangarei info center for the bus to come (it was almost an hour late!) I was starting to get nervous, so I kept my mind off the absence of my ride by watching the various people that came and went from the tourist shop. about 15 minutes before the bus finally showed, a white land cruiser pulled up and parked in the bus lane. at first I thought this was odd, and then just plain selfish, but when I looked again at the SUV I realized it had been extended! I knew trying to explain this story to my Dad would never be enough to capture it, so I just took a picture instead. I've seen a lot of Toyotas but I've never seen a land cruiser like that and I wondered if it was a one-of-a-kind. maybe it was...

back on the MAGIC at last, the bus driver called me up to the front and had me sit in that chair by the door. you know, the one that flips down and all the tour guides always sit in? he wanted to ask me if I needed any accommodation booked before we reached Paihia (since the driver will do that for you, but I had just got on and had nothing on record with him) but I kindly said I had already taken care of it. he was a nice kiwi guy that happened to be from the Otago region and we ended up chatting about traveling to South America for about a half an hour. it was kinda cool, sitting in that tour guide chair, with nothing in front of you but the huge windshield and the open road.

we reached Paihia at around 1pm and I checked into my room and picked a bed (and it was a bottom bunk for once! woo hoo!). it was an 8 girl dorm room which didn't phase me, but we were all sharing one bathroom. 8 girls. 1 bathroom. umm, no. I usually get up before everyone else so hopefully it won't be an issue. other than that it seems like a very pleasant hostel... very clean, which is always a plus when you're talking hostels.

the day had turned out to be OUTSTANDING. "a ten" is what my mother would have called it. since I had the afternoon free I had already made up my mind to take a passenger ferry across the bay to the sleepy town of Russell and wander around. I walked about 5 minutes along the water to "downtown" to buy my ferry ticket, buy some post cards and then to the kiwibank to close my account, as I was leaving for Australia in 3 days. after those affairs were in order I boarded a small, bright red boat and I was jetted across the bay in 6 minutes flat. the moment I set foot on the docks, I was smitten. I had had friends tell me about the allure of Russell and man, were they right. it almost reminded me of a tropical version of Nantucket. small, narrow streets...quaint houses with picked fences and rose gardens... a close-knit community feel to it... I almost felt like I was back home. almost. oh, and the view! the water was sooo blue and you could see straight across the bay to Paihia. Russell was in fact made the original capital of NZ in 1840, but only hung on to the status for a year before it was moved to Auckland, and the town was known to be quite a busy whaling and sealing port. as a matter of fact, many of the ships that sailed into Russell had initially come from New Bedford and Nantucket. could that explain where Russell gets its magnetism? I decided that it indeed it was, and treated myself to a *superb* grilled lamb pita pocket sandwich and ate it at a waterfront table overlooking the harbor. I put my feet up, relished in the much-awaited sunshine, and called my parents to tell them all about my diving adventure the previous day.

the Bay of Islands was quickly moving up "my favorite places in NZ" list, and I was in no hurry to get back to the hostel.  I eventually got back just before dark and had a small dinner before heading to bed for the night.

tomorrow I have planned to take the day trip (or "safari" as they call it) up to the very tip of NZ, to where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide. Cape Reigna.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: