Sun, sea and sand…and dolphins!

Another wonderful week in New Zealand with sun, sea and sand…and dolphins!

5th: Arrived in Paihia in Bay of Islands on Thursday- had a free ticket to come with KiwiExperience- sort of confirmed my impression of them…really annoying ‘chummy’ driver who’s more interested in telling all the gap year kids where to get pissed than showing you the sights and giving you a bit of culture! But it was a free trip so what can you do?! The drive here was amazing…scenery very KingKong island like!

6th: Has been really sunny, but incredibly cold in the wind…have been shivering in my fleece most of the time! Went out on a boat trip to see dolphins, would have liked to swim with them but the thought of taking any clothes off out there was so unappealing- it was freezing! And seeing how blue the people who did go in were when they came out i don’t regret my decision a bit! Got to lie of the bow of the boat close to the water with the dolphins about a foot below me bow riding….actually got squirted by one of their blow-holes, so i think that’s a close enough encounter 🙂

7th: Went on a bus trip up to Cape Reinga on Saturday- Northern most point of NZ. Stopped off to see some giant Kauri trees which are now protected (not as amazing as the sequoias in Yosemite!). Not much at the actual cape except a lighthouse, but you can actually see the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean crashing into each other, which is quite cool. On the way back we went Sandboarding (throwing yourself facefirst down a 100m sand dune on a bodyboard!), was really cool, but the trek up the sand-dune killed me! Then drove down 90-mile (actually 90km) beach, which is officially designated a road, albeit one that you can only use at low tide :S.

8th: On Sunday had a bit of a lie in then went over on the ferry to Russell (little colonial village whose claim to fame is that it was originally the capital for about 9months in the 1840’s!), was very quaint, especially the official oldest church in New Zealand, at circa 1836! Positively ancient…

9th: I went on a kayaking trip, which was really good. Was just me and Rachel and a guide. First went out to sea a bit and saw the grounds for the Treaty of Waitangi (original treaty between British and Maori people), and saw some dolphins (at a bit of a distance!). Paddled through some mangrove trees, which was very bizarre but really peaceful, then up to haruru falls. Don’t think my arms will be thanking me for that in the morning!

So caught the bus back to Auckland at about 4pm this afternoon…ready to jet off again first thing tomorrow to the Coromandel Peninsula!

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