The Bay of Islands

Trip Start Nov 16, 2005
Trip End Apr 11, 2006

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Friday, February 17, 2006

16th and 17th Feb..... the Amazing Bay of Islands.. can it get any better?

Luckily, we booked our place in Paihia for two nights, as it was full when we arrived - it was called Capt. Bob's Beachhouse - it was a great spot - ocean views and brilliant sunsets - we could eat supper and breakfast out on the balcony looking out to sea - the place was a real gem - spotlessly clean and very comfortable. It took us 4 hours to drive from Auckland but, the road was very good - motorway out of the city for quite a way. We stopped for lunch in Whangerei - the main city of the Northland - there are some great restaurants here and we had lunch in Mokaba - it was up to scratch. After lunch we visited the Whangerei Falls where we had a lovely walk to the Falls and observed them from two viewing platforms and then walked along the side of the river. Near the restaurants there is the Clapham Clocks Collection - a museum of clocks. We then headed off for Paihia and checked in. This is the jumping off point for the Bay of Islands and there are many places to stay here.

That evening we took the local ferry across to Russell - this is a very old colonial town. We had a walk to the Yacht Club and then back to see the splendid weatherboard Christchurch church, built in 1836 - most likely the oldest surviving church in NZ. Charles Darwin gave money for the building of this church. There are lots of Maori and Settlers graves in the cemetery and the kneelers in the church are beautifully embroidered bu the Maoris. This place is also noted for honeymooners as it is so quaint with lovely B&B's and restaurants. In the 1820's the population was made up of convicts, deserters and sailors who jumped ship!

Having expored the place, we went back on the ferry, had supper and watched a video before retiring for the night.

17th Feb.... a day at sea on a marvellous yacht.

Started out after breakfast for the dock in Paihia, where we had booked on a 65ft yacht to spend the day in the Bay of Islands. There were 14 of us on the trip and we left at 10 am and returned at 4.30 pm. We sailed out to a small island called Robertson Island where the skipper dropped anchor - I know the lingo - we were then ferried by dingy to the shore where we went for a walk through the forest up to a look-out point. From there we could see all the surrounding islands and take pics. All these islands are volcanic and are the result of a volcanoe thousands of years ago - NZ is made up of two big volcanoes - North and South islands. We then could choose to snorkel, swim or kayak for an hour before lunch on the boat. We saw lots of dolphins playing near our boat - they were flipping right out of the water - it was great fun. Finally, we left and set sail for Paihia - the weather was absolutely gorgeous all day and we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I would recommend this boat - Gungha II - and it's skipper Mike to anyone wanting to see the Bay of Islands - much better than the noisy Fullers or Kings outfits - pack em in and pile em high approach!

Home to an early night after a long day but enjoyable day in the sun. I would love to have spent more time here and done some more island hops but our old enemy time took over!
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