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Published: December 28th 2020
After an overnight cruise from Auckland, we awoke to find ourselves in Paihia Harbour which is close to Waitangi, the site of an historic treaty between Britain and the local Mãori people which was signed in 1840. The scenery was stunning and not too dissimilar to Falmouth Harbour in that it is a drowned river estuary. A three-hour drive or 35 minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty & history.
We had elected to do a tour with the ship because we were tendered off - we didn't know to where - and had been advised that the only way to see this area was by boat. Hence we selected the boat tour. Fortunately, there were less than fifty of us and we all fitted easily into a 165 seater catamaran which was to be our home for over four hours. Our guided tour included a newspaper deliveries to properties in the bay and included stops at two jettys, several flash landing wharfs (with
tunnels to pricey properties) and even a bucket where the newspaper was pulled ashore from a pylon by electric motor. Some of these second homes were stunning. We headed out of the bay towards the spectacular Cape Brett and the ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Piercy Island through which our boat passed to much cheering.
Our last stop was Urupukapuka Island which is the largest in the Bay of Islands, located about 7. kilometres from Paihia. Here we walked to the top of the highest hill where we took advantage of the fabulous 360 degree panoramic views of the stunning scenery. Photos are better than words for this day.
In summary, New Zealand was a big hit.
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