Merry Christmas from the Southern Hemisphere!
First of all, we hope that you all had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to 2010! It was lovely to speak to you all over the holidays and thanks so much for all our pressies, we had a great time opening them all up on the beach!
Christmas in the Summer was a bit weird..... but one I think we could definitely get used too! On Christmas eve eve, we headed off to the Bay of Islands, which is four hours north of Auckland. The Bay of Islands is made up of 144 Islands at the very northern tip of NZ, we rented a little Bach pad in Paihia for Christmas. We were told that Paihia was a bit "tourist tastic" by a few kiwis, so we were a little nervous that it would be like Southend seafront with sun...however nothing could be further from the truth, Paihia is gorgeous, and is only made up of three streets and a handful of restaurants. I guess that is touristy for NZ, but heaven for us, and not a 2P machine in sight!
On Christmas eve, we went sailing and were lucky enough to see a pod
of dolphins! It was such an amazing experience, the dolphins came right up to the front of the boat and we could lean right out on a platform to view then swimming around the front of the boat, they were so beautiful....some even had babies with them. It was absolutely amazing to view them in their natural environment, we feel so lucky! When it was time to go and the boat picked up speed, some of the dolphins started leaping in the wake of the waves, it was brilliant! I really cant describe how happy we felt at that moment...
We then transferred onto a Catamaran (bit tricky - we has to get into a little dingy mid ocean and sail over!) but once we got aboard it was amazing! you literally just sat on the edge or on a piece of net suspended above the waves! We then set sail for our own private beach for the day, where we had a BBQ waiting for us...heaven! We then had the rest of the afternoon to so as we pleased, so after a bit of sunbathing and swimming I took a Kayak out around the bay to have a
bit of a leisurely explore...Mike was far more active and spent the afternoon whizzing around on the sea biscuit... (basically a float attached to the back of a speed boat!) it looked great fun!
After that we set sail for Paihia and was even allowed to help crew the boat, we were probably more hindrance then help.... but it was a great experience!
Christmas day we spent on the beach (we had headed over to "historic Russel" only to head back pretty sharpish... the towns main attractions include a large tree and a police station...that's about it!) it was a gorgeous sunny day and we spent a lazy day on the beach before heading over to a local eatery for Christmas dinner, which was yummy and the best part about it was that we didn't have to cook it!
We got back to Auckland on boxing day and will be back at work again soon - bah humbug! It was an amazing trip and we cant wait to see where our feet will lead us next
We hope you enjoy the photos, missing you all lots!
All the best from down under
Marie and Mike
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