Jo & Rohan’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 07 Jan 2006

Location: Paihia, New Zealand

MapBeautiful Bay Of Islands

We travelled north from Auckland on our first journey with the Magic Bus to Paihia which is the biggest settlement within the Bay Of Islands. There are 150 or so Islands scattered off the North East coast of New Zealand. The bus stopped on the way at a couple of interesting places including Waitangi Forest where we visited a tree that was over 2000 years old (it was huge!) and Opononi where we learnt about a 'Gay Dolphin' who frequented the bay in 1956 and used to play around with all comers. We also stopped of just before Paihia at a peaceful waterfall. Although Paihia is visited by a lot of tourists it remains reasonably quiet and it was nice to be out of the city after spending over 2 weeks in Sydney / Auckland. On our first day here we took a couple of bikes out from the hostel and cycled up to some fantastic viewpoints just outside the town and spent the rest of the day on the beach enjoying the very pleasant sunshine. On our second day we took a short ferry ride over to Russell, once the capital of NZ. This place is so peaceful and would be a great place to retire! Whilst here we took a walk up a very steep hill to a flag mast where there were some spectacular views of the Islands and relaxed on a couple more beaches! The highlight of our trip up here was certainly our third day where we were taken out on a boat to spot some dolphins. We managed to see loads of them, although they were too quick for our camera and us. The boat also took us to the 'Hole In The Rock' and another Island, the name of which escapes us! We also had a go at 'Boom Netting'. There is basically a huge net attached to the side of the boat which you sit it and hold onto as the boat travels along at a fairly high speed. Great fun and nothing either of us had even seen before. We had an excellent time and superb weather up in the North and would definately recommend this part of the country to anybody visiting.