Bay of Islands

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Feb 28, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, February 9, 2008

From Hamilton we drove through Auckland, over the Harbour Bridge and 30km further north to Orewa for a night before completing the trip to the Bay of Islands.  In Orewa we stayed in a quiet hostel and spent the afternoon of Waitangi Day walking along Orewa beach, watching the locals enjoying their midweek day off with a swim in the sea and a barbecue.
The next morning we headed north again.  On the way we braved the unsealed hilly roads to Pakiri beach.  The beach was almost deserted and we spent a few hours here relaxing and Mark managed a few minutes in the rough looking sea.
The rest of the journey to Paihia was spent stuck behind slow vehicle after slow vehicle.  When we arrived in Paihia we cooked our dinner on the hostel barbecue and fed the cat what we couldn't finish.  We were full so a walk into the main part of town was necessary to see what was going on and let our food go down.
While in Hamilton we'd booked onto an overnight cruise of the Bay of Islands and so most of the next day was spent waiting around until our 5pm boarding.  As we were staying at the same hostel when we returned we had been able to leave our car parked there and our food in the fridge.
When 5pm came around a tender boat came to take us to The Rock, a converted car ferry now accommodating backpackers in dorms on the upper deck.  The lower deck serves as the bar and dining area.  For the rest of the evening there was a lot to keep us occupied.  Firstly Mark was in the shooting competition, trying to shoot a plastic duck on a line behind the boat.  He almost won but lost the shoot off.  Then it was time for fishing off the back of the boat.  Theresa opted out of this one and was Mark's official photographer.  Mark somehow managed to catch two tiddly fish and one time when he reeled the line in some seaweed was caught on his hook!
After dinner was served the activities weren't over for the day.  We both went on the night kayaking to see the bioluminescence of the sea at night.  This is a form of algae that can be seen best at night.  Every time something moves in the water you can see the glow of the algae following the object; it's amazing.
After breakfast the next morning the crew found a good location for snorkelling.  The water was really cold so wet suits were a definite.  The standard of the snorkelling has nothing on the Great Barrier Reef, the water was murky and there was very little exciting to see.  The boat's crew managed to catch a load of mussels and pick some sea urchins for us to try later.
Lunchtime was spent on Robertson's Island and most of us climbed to the highest point of the island to take in the wonderful view, hear the stories about the island and get a group photo.  We then ate our pack lunch down by the beach in light drizzle.
Back in Paihia that afternoon we managed to book our island hopping in Fiji and the hotel we'd be staying at in New York before returning to the hostel for a much needed shower.
Before completely leaving the area we drove up to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, scene of the signing of treaty giving Queen Victoria sovereignty over New Zealand and guaranteeing the rights of both Maori and non-maori citizens.
Love Mark and Theresa xxxx
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