Bay of Islands

Paihia Travel Blog

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After breakfast Al and I headed out of town to pick up our wheels for the next four weeks and rolled back into town with a dubiously-named 7-seat Toyota Enima. It took some Tetris-style moves to pack in all our crap but we were soon on our way north toward the Bay of Islands.


First major stop on Mam's agenda was a trip to the setting of one of her favourite TV shows, The Lion Man. A short distance from Whangerei we came upon the Zion Wildlife Park, where we were shown around the enclosures and treated to close-up views of the 40-plus cats at feeding time. The 'Lion Man' himself (Craig) wasn't at home but we saw his pesonal favourite pet, Zion. Zion is a monstrous lion who lives in Craig's back yard and who you may know as Aslan from The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe.


We found somewhere to stay in Paihia, a lovely spot that would most likely come alive as the epicentre of the Bay of Islands in the Summer, but in early spring was near-dead.

Nevertheless we spent an enjoyable couple of days taking in the local sights. First up on the list was a visit to Waitangi treaty grounds, and to see where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed back in the 1840s. It was well-presented and all very educational. After that we headed over to Russel on the ferry for lunch and a look around before going to see Haruru falls.


As the forecast was good for Saturday we took a boat trip to Cape Brett lighthouse and Hole in the Rock. The Kiwi forecasts are never very good though, and it was overcast and very windy but the Bay of Islands is very picturesque nonetheless. Halfway through we encountered a pod of dolphins which swam with us for 30 minutes or so. And I can't think of anywhere better to get Fush and Chups. It chucked it down that afternoon and stopped me and Ad taking kayaks out around the bay. It stopped pretty-much anything really except a night in and a game of Scrabble.

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photo by: Ils1976