Sean Mc on Skynet

Back on the road again - Bay of Islands

There was still one part of the country we had not seen, it was the area north of Whangerai. On two previous occasion we had travelled as far as Matapouri about 30 minutes north of Whangerai. Work was quiet so we took this opportunity to get back on the road again. This time we were determined to get to the Bay of Islands and all the way to Cape Reinga. Our first stop along the way was in Paihia, one of the main towns in the Bay of Islands.
We spent 2 nights in Paihia and a day looking around the town. As a town it's nothing without tourism, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of local industry here which is quite surprising given it's historical place in New Zealand history. The treaty of Waitangi was first signed here and there's now a cultural centre built up around the treaty. This was our first sight to see for the day. It's a well put together centre that starts with a short video giving a back ground to the founding of the nation and the treaty of Waitangi. It goes someway towards explaining modern day treaty negotiations and settlements. Perhaps most interesting is the Treaty house, this was the house if the first official citizen of New Zealand. Like everything else in this park it's well put together to give an idea of what life was like at the time. After spending a few hours there it was time to go back to the wharf where our cruise boat was leaving from.

Basically the cruise takes you out around the island with the tour guide giving a little bit of historical and current information about each one, whether it's who owns the island or how it got it's name. It's interesting but there is a lot of information to take in. Just out from Paihia there was a huge school of bottlenose dolphins playing in the water. They were pretty cool to see but definitely not as playful as the dusky dolphins we'd seen down at kaikoura.

The main point of the visit is going out to the 'hole in the rock' and sailing through it. Although the bay is very sheltered, by time we got out that far it was a bit touch and go whether or not it was safe for the boat to sail through the 'hole in the rock'. After sailing through the 'hole' it was time to head for home. On the way home we had one short stop at Russell to drop off some passengers and then it was back to Paihia and back to the campsite for some well earned dinner, a good day all round.

posted by SeanMc @ 11:56 PM,


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