A four hour bus ride north from Auckland and the Bay of Islands, described some where as the "jewel of Northland". I felt that after almost 5 days working in Auckland - from the Net Central Internet Cafe - that I deserved a break. Paihai is a small town with a population of 7200. It caters really well for backpackers, on just one small road over 2000 backpacker beds are available. The beach is just out front of the town and the just across the bay is the pretty town of Russell.
I stayed in a small and friendly backpackers (hostels are called backpackers in NZ) called Pipi Patch Lodge, really nice place. The rooms of the Pipi Patch are clean, hold 8 backpackers and have comfy beds. Though on the downside the BBQ at $10 is a complete rip off, sold as an all you can eat BBQ its actually a spam burger with as much salad as you can face. $6 bucks down the road will buy an actual beef burger in a café down the road.
Two bars dominate the night life of the town, both attached to backpackers. The Salterwater and Pipi Patch bars. The
town has two clubs the Lighthouse and the Odeon, both are typical small town clubs but see a huge number of travellers visiting in the summer. I drank and went out over the weekend and two of the three nights ended up in the Lighthouse, dancing to Cockeneye Joe with some crazy Kiwi girls working in the town.
In the daytime I went on a four hour tramp (hike) in the Opua Forest and back along the coastal path, managed to get a nice run up to the view point on one of the days.
The highlight of the week was a days sailing with Kate, Matt, Ben and Nick. I stayed with Ben and Nick in a dorm in Auckland but hadn't really got to know them, we all had a great days sailing. The morning started out with us meeting up with Captain Ron and his family on their 46ft yacht at 9.30am. A few hours sailing out to an island, kayaking and snorkelling around a deserted beach. Then a few hours sailing to return to the bay. On the return from the island we headed through the bay where the most dolphins are spotted. After
15mins in the bay I spotted a dolphin, "theres one! - it's a bit big". I was lucky enough to have spotted a whale, got a good view of the backs of the two whales, probably sperm whales, unfortunately didn't see any tails, or dolphins.
We went out for the evening, missed out on an all night party by getting drunk and tired and just going to bed.
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