Undeniably pretty, the Bay of Islands ranks as one of NZ’s top tourist drawcards. The footage that made you want to come to NZ in the first place no doubt featured lingering shots of lazy, sun-filled days on a yacht floating atop these turquoise waters punctuated by around 150 undeveloped islands. The reality is that NZ has many beautiful spots and this bay, while wonderful, could be a teensy bit overhyped.
|Bay of Islands|
We got up to the Bay of Islands area in the afternoon, and debated if it was worthwhile to take the ferry over to Russell. It's also possible to drive there, but since it's such a big detour the most common way is to take a short ferry ride. We ended up deciding that there was nothing in particular that we wanted to do in Russell, so we just spent a few hours wandering around Paihia instead. Dexter had to stay on leash, but we explored some rocky areas near the water and walked along the shore.
|A gull that Dexter wanted to chase|
|Weird creatures in a crack on a rock - don't know what they are!|
After a quick stop at Haruru Falls (since Dexter once again had to stay in the car) we checked into the campground (Holiday Park) that we were staying at. It was not very busy, so we had our choice of spots and picked one way on the end next to the river. It was very private, so we had a bit of space to play with Dexter a bit since he didn't get as much running around yet that day.
|Haruru Falls - before the giant tour of people arrived|
|Our camp site!|
|Dexter loves camping!|
Then it was time to put our handiness skills to the test and attach our screens to the windows. We had bought some silicone rubber stuff that worked pretty well, and only slightly made a mess. I'm actually pretty impressed at how well it turned out! Looks decent, kept the bugs out and didn't fall off on our drive home today! Yay us!
We cooked up some dinner (in the kitchen, this isn't open fire style camping :) ) and set up our bed and Dexter's bed in the front seat. This worked well because a) he hogs the bed when he sleeps with us, b) we have an air mattress and I'm would worry about him puncturing it and c) in such a small enclosed space it's probably better if he has his own space, since we can't just kick him off the bed easily :) Dexter seemed fine with this too, he had his cushion and blanket and seemed quite cozy!
This morning we packed up and went to the sky diving place for Scott to jump out of a plane, ahhhh!!!! More info in a separate post :)
After the excitement of sky diving we got our culture on, and visited a historical site in Kerikeri - Mission House and Stone Store. It was pretty late in the day so we just looked around a bit (the tours were all over). Also walked up the hill to Kororipo Pa. We also finally figured out that the word "Pa" means settlement in Maori - we had seen the word all over but didn't know what it meant. Then we grabbed some food in Kerikeri and headed home!
Fun trip! Warm weather too...I managed to sunburn my nose, even though we didn't spend any time "hanging out" in the sun really. Gotta get a hat or something to prevent this in the future (I have a beach hat, but it looks so silly that I only wear it at the beach, haha). We missed a few things so we will have to come back to the Bay of Islands again sometime.
|Me (and some ladies that decided to walk into the picture [and stand around gabbing - scott]) at Stone Store|
|Walk up to Kororipo Pa|
|View of Stone Store and Mission House from Kororipo Pa|
|These are neat trees that have no bark. Wonder what they are...|
|I made a wish! It's a secret :)|