Wayne and I are finding it hard at the moment to be still, to not be travelling or even thinking about travelling as we had so many plans for 2021. In any given year we are either planning an overseas trip or travelling within Australia so there is always something exciting to look forward to. But at the moment all the plans and the travel have come to a grinding halt which then makes me reflect and reminisce about past trips. And New Zealand was a trip we both enjoyed immensely and a place we want to go back to as there is just so much more to see and do. I previously posted about the first few days of our trip which included Whangarei so now I want to share with you a beautiful part of the North Island, The Bay of Islands. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
The Bay of Islands is located in the waters off the coast of Paihia in the Northland area of the North Island of New Zealand. The seaside township of Paihia is home to approx. 1700 locals but is a busy tourist hub. Known as “The Jewel of The Bay of Islands” it is a place where you can get out on and in the water, learn about New Zealand History, go for walks and drives and just explore!
And so we did! We booked our tour of the islands with Fullers Great Sights (www.dolphincruises.co.nz) deciding on “The Cream Trip” (we knew of others who had done this tour and loved it) which follows the original cream trip route, the route used for deliveries since 1927 and yes they still deliver mail and supplies to this day. This full day trip is not to be missed as you get to see many of the islands, you can boom-net off the side of the boat, watch dolphins frolicking and showing-off and even spend time at Otehei Bay for a walk and some lunch.
Our first stop was at the township of Russell across the bay from Paihia which was New Zealand’s first capital city and home to some historic and beautiful buildings. This was only a delivery and drop off stop but you can get the ferry across to explore on your own. From here we cruised past Tapeka Point before heading to Moturoa which is the second largest island in The Bay of Islands and is known for its sheep farming. After our delivery we cruised past Te Pahi Islands and onto Rangihoua Bay and Marsden Cross. This is Departmentt of Conservation land and is where Reverend Samuel Marsden held the first Christian sermon in New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814 and was also home to a Maori Chief named Te Pahi.
The scenery is fascinating and eye-catching, you just don’t know where to look, it is beautiful and breathtaking. Our cruise continued to Black Rocks (a group of volcanic rocks), Nine Pin protruding from the waters and looking very lonely before heading to Motukokako also known as Piercy Island (which was the name Captain Cook gave it, naming it after the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time) and even better known as Hole in the Rock due to the hole which has formed over centuries by wind and waves. It stands high and proud off the tip of Cape Brett Peninsula, its sheer cliffs rising 148 metres out of the Pacific Ocean. It is mesmerising to say the least.
Not far away is Cape Brett Peninsula (Rakaumangamanga) home to the Cape Brett Lighthouse which has been operating since 21st February 1910 but the history of the island and the first Maori’s to arrive date back 1000 years.
The islands just keep coming as there are some 144 islands in the Bay of Islands group and we cannot possibly see them all in one day. So we now head to Urupukapuka and Otehei Bay to stretch the legs, have a walk and enjoy some lunch. Urupukapuka is the largest of all the islands in the group and is home to Otehei Bay. There are walks, water activities, picnic areas and a conservation centre. It has history of ancient Maori tribes as well as being known in more recent times as a place visited and written about by Zane Grey (American author, sportsman and conservationist).
Back on the boat the boom-net came out. Oh the laughs we had watching people trying to hang on, losing tops and bottoms, getting wedgies. Oh we laughed! But they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, having fun and embracing the experience. There were dolphins to swim with and watch as the played, teased and then swam away.
We continued cruising past Motukiekie, Moturua and Motuarohia Islands all fascinating and beautiful and all with a history and story to be told. Moturua a scenic reserve and regenerating native forest is home to Manuka and Kanuka trees. Motukiekie is a privately owned island and Motuarohia is where Captain James Cook anchored HMS Endeavour off during his expedition and is also known as Roberton Island. Many of the islands have walking tracks and trails to be discovered and enjoyed so make sure you check them out at https://www.doct.gov.nz. And once you start reading, researching and exploring the options you will see why we have to go back as we couldn’t possibly fit everything in!
And so that was the end of our journey. As we headed back into Paihia we reflected on the beauty and history, the sights, the wildlife and the fun. It was a great day with plenty to see but it was also relaxing. I would recommend this tour to everyone as it is a great tour for all. You won’t be disappointed and you will end the day with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.
If you want any more information on the Bay of Islands you can find it at https://www.visitboi.co.nz/
New Zealand, a land of beauty, grace, history, fun and people!