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Krista's Travels

Auckland and the Bay of Islands

USA | Sunday, 26 April 2009 | Views [429]

The Rock and the R Tucker Thompson sailing ship with our kayakers returning

The Rock and the R Tucker Thompson sailing ship with our kayakers returning

I'll cover Auckland in a couple sentences: I had a brilliant day at an island bird sanctuary called Tiri Tiri Maatangi, a day trip on a boat out of Auckland harbor. I enjoyed the museum, hiking to the top of a neighborhood volcano for a view of the city, and browsing the cafes on Parnell avenue in the peaceful neighborhood where my hostel was located (30 minute walk from downtown). Auckland is a crowded, busy, and a bit dirty city with poor public transport. I didn't enjoy it much but I loved my hostel and there are numerous lovely islands you can scoot over to on a ferry for a day trip. Thus, not altogether horrible to be here a few days.

From there I headed up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands on yet another backpacker bus (Magic Bus this time). This is because a) I discovered my driver's license has expired (oops) and b) Magic is now the ONLY public bus to serve Hokianga on the west coast of northland, which I wanted to visit due to the nearby Kauri forests. So, Paihia. I did an overnight boat trip on an ex-car ferry named The Rock. It was surprisingly wonderful and not to drunken or loud when I wanted to sleep. We did all sorts of activities: snorkeling, fishing, bbq dinner, beach visit and hike to a gorgeous overlook, and everyone's favorite: the night kayak with the phosphorescence. WOW, so cool! And really weird to have waves coming at you and not be able to see from which direction, ie which way you ought to face your boat not to get swamped. All good fun, though. After that, the weather turned to hell and next few days were torrential rains and I was sick. So I never made it up to Cape Reinga, the tip of the north island, which is supposedly a fabulous trip.

Instead, I enjoyed laying around drinking tea, took the ferry across to Russell, New Zealand's first town (and a cute, peaceful little waterfront village these days), hiked to some cool mangroves, and chatted with some friendly irish backpackers. By the way, the Irish always seemed to be friendly wherever I ran into them, and I ought to visit that country someday.

Paihia being a tourisy town, it wasn't as idyllic as I'd hoped, especially since due to bad weather I wasn't sunbathing to soak up the rays for my trip home back to probably another few months of bellingham rain. I happily headed onwards to Hokianga Harbor (next story!).

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