February 6, 2007

Bay of Islands - New Zealand

We were inspired by a coworker to head north this weekend. There were plenty of places to visit, but we opted for the Bay of Islands. I didn't think much of the name, and it wasn't until we got there that it hit me... The area is a big bay, and there are lots of little islands in this bay.

The city we stopped in was Paihia. It's a small town with a dock for several of the business that offer tours, deep sea fishing, ferry to Russell, etc. The biggest attraction out in the Bay of Islands is the "Hole in the Rock". Just about every tour boat/cruise company offers a trip out to see it. We took the "Hole in the Rock" tour from Fullers, which was a 4 hour excursion. The boat took us along the islands while the captain gave a little explanation about each island. Then we had a stop on the last island, which seemed to be inhabited and probably owned by Fullers. We got out to roam around, walking up some big hills, catching some great views, and getting close to some local sheep.

Afterwards, we drove to Kerikeri (~20 minutes) where I had booked us a night at the Stone Store Lodge. The place felt modern yet natural. You were seranaded by a chorus of insects in the forest. The lodge is basically a house that has 3 bedrooms (with ensuites) for rent. There's a kitchen, dining, and lounge area. Though, to be honest, it didn't feel like I was just in someone's house; I felt like I was in a really nice spa. For 195 NZD a night, it was a bargain... It's difficult to find a luxurious and comfortable place to stay for less than 300 NZD. Wish we could have stayed longer.

On Sunday, we stopped in the Kerikeir Farmer's Market before heading back to Auckland. On the way, we stopped at Waipu Beach to have lunch. Waipu has a nice surf beach which is really wide. There's plenty of space for everyone!

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Posted by oneray at February 6, 2007 4:15 PM