The Bay of Islands by boat

Anne here…

We spent the afternoon on a very powerful catamaran, with about 100 other people, exploring the Bay of Islands properly.

And yes, within 5 minutes we came across a family pod of about 25 bottlenose dolphins, including a four month old baby dolphin with its mum. It was as magical as it sounds. The dolphins were quite happy to swim and play around the boat for ages. Eventually we had to leave them, the dolphins themselves would have stayed by the boat for a lot longer.

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock

The Bay of Islands is just stunningly beautiful. Especially as the weather was perfect. Hundreds of rocky outcrop Islands of all sizes. The boat stopped for an hour at one of the bigger islands – Urupukapuka, and we scrambled up a hill to get the most fantastic views of Otehei Bay. The Bay was named by Captain Cook.

And yes very impressively this large boat did go through the Hole in the Rock. It took the skipper a while to be sure that the boat was lined up properly and sea conditions were okay. There were only a few feet spare on each side and quite a few rocky outcrops. But for quite a contrived manoeuvre it was surprisingly awesome.

Overall a lovely, lovely day.

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock

Heading back to Russell

Heading back to Russell

Otehei Bay

Otehei Bay

Otehei Bay

Otehei Bay

Christ Church, Russell

Russell – romantic Russell or Hell Hole of the past?

Actually neither really although it has been called both in the past.

Just a lovely little settlement across the Bay from Paihia with an unexpectedly important place in NZ history.

The current population of 816 belies its history as the first capital of New Zealand.

Maori Memorial Garden, Russell

Maori Memorial Garden, Russell

There were so many things to like:

  • the peace and quiet of a Maori garden
  • the hotel sign which said “Refreshing Reprobates and Rascals since 1827”;
  • the first Anglican church in New Zealand – the place of the first signature on the Treaty of Waitangi
  • and lunch in the Duke Marlborough hotel – the first hotel in New Zealand.

For a small place it has a lot of firsts!

Memorial in Christ Church graveyard, Russell

Memorial in Christ Church graveyard, Russell

Memorial in Christ Church graveyard, Russell

Memorial in Christ Church graveyard, Russell

Post by Anne

The Meeting House, Waitangi

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Anne here…

Really, really interesting history lesson in an idyllic location.

We were really fortunate with the weather as well – blue skies, warm sunshine – we needed both sunglasses and suncream.

The Treaty House, Waitangi

The Treaty House, Waitangi

But back to the history… The Maori guide was extremely knowledgeable, fascinating and chatty. He described the arrival of the first Europeans and the reception they received from the Maoris. And then how the two sides managed to make working (and sometimes domestic!) relationships. And the many ups and downs along the way, including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

It really helped explain the origins of the peoples of New Zealand.

Then an excellent Maori cultural ceremony including taking our shoes off to enter the Maori meeting house.

Finally a leisurely lunch in the spectacular and extensive lush green lawns.

#whataninterestingmorning

The War Canoe, Waitangi

The War Canoe, Waitangi

Carving on the waka house, Waitangi

Carving on the waka house, Waitangi

 

Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri

New Zealand Waterfalls

Paul here.

During our last tour of New Zealand we hardly saw any waterfalls apart from the ones in Milford Sound. We sure are making up for it this trip.

So far we’ve seen three really impressive ones – Whangarai Falls, Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri, and Haruru Falls near Paihia.

We’ve been pretty lucky‚Äč for viewing as we are touring just after the remnants of Cyclone Debbie passed through. This has badly affected some areas in New Zealand, but has filled the rivers up.

It would be pretty hard to pick a favourite waterfall so far. All are quite different and appeal in different ways.

Click on any of the smaller photos for a bigger view.

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Whangarai Falls

Whangarai Falls

Haruru Falls

Haruru Falls