When planning this, my second trip to New Zealand, I was keen to visit the areas which I had been forced (by time constraints) to miss out before, and “everything north of Auckland” was an obvious gap that needed to be addressed.
The Bay of Islands is in the enticingly named “Winterless North” (made even more so by the grey drizzle that welcomed us to Auckland), a half day’s drive north of Auckland. The main town, Pahia is a popular holiday spot, with a long, mostly sandy beach but the real attraction is the 100 or so islands with secluded coves and the dolphins which swim in the crystal clear waters. Due to bus timetables we were not able to stay long enough to spend a whole day cruising around the bay, so we opted for the “express tour”, NZ style—a high adrenaline tour of the bay at 40-45 knots in a open-topped catamaran with super-charged twin turbines and a skipper who liked to employ an “equal opportunity” policy of soaking of her passengers on both sides of the boat… The sun was shining, the islands were beautiful (a bit like the Whitsundays, but without the tropical vegetation and white sand, so greener) and it was great fun, even if the salt water did sting a bit! 🙂
|NZ 2008: Auckland and Paihia|