After our five days in Auckland, we got the bus up to Paihia (pronounced pie here!) in the Bay of Islands.
We checked into the loveliest hostel. Everywhere was clean, great communal area and the owner was so helpful getting us set up with a bus pass. He also provided loose leaf tea and was delighted that we know how to use a teapot and tea strainer (thanks mum) apparently most of his guests don’t and require a lesson!
Paihia is a coastal town that reminded us a bit of Bowness, but with better weather and less tourists. It was nice to feel at home! Our first day was spent wandering around and commandeering the Lord of the Rings DVDs in the hostel (when in New Zealand and all that!)
After a really good and much needed sleep, we decided to do the Dolphin Cruise around the Bay of Islands. We managed to book the trip using our bus pass so it didn’t cost us anything which was great. The Dolphin Cruise only did half of what it said on the tin in that yes, it was a boat trip, but no, there were no dolphins. Well, tom saw a dolphin but I did not. This was disappointing as we really wanted to swim with them having heard all about it from a fellow traveller in Fiji. We later discovered that it’s too early in the season to see a lot of dolphins but hopefully we will be able to swim with them from the South Island. The tour was okay, pretty good to see the hole in the rock and a few of the islands that captain cook “discovered.”
After the tour we were dropped in a town across the bay from Paihia called Russell. It was a lovely town, but deserted. We heard some crazy birds whilst we were waiting for the boat back, they sounded like they had about four voice boxes – a combination of creaky doors and R2D2!
When we got back to Paihia we had some much anticipated fish and chips only to discover they were pants compared to home. Oh well!
Sorry, that sounded like a bit of a moan, but it was just a bit of a weird day haha!
We headed back to Auckland the following day and caught a small ferry to Pine Harbour, across the bay, to meet Maggie, a lovely friend of James, Tom’s godfather. Maggie was so kind and funny and accommodating and amazingly put us up for two nights in her beautiful home in Maraetai.
We enjoyed home comforts, good food and even did some laundry. We really enjoyed meeting her kids, her cats and her dog, and had a really good walk along the coast line noseying at people’s houses. The cool thing about the area is all the houses are individually designed and super cool, it felt a bit like walking around Beverley Hills.
(Here’s a snap of Flash. He looks like scooby do!)
We were sad to leave and return to Auckland (for the 3rd time!) in order to catch our bus to Whitianga.