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February 1st 2009
Published: February 1st 2009
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Left Orewa on Friday 30th after driving round to sort out a mobile phone for NZ numbers!! Drove North towards our next destination Bay of Islands stopping en route at Whangarei Falls for lunch. Headed for Opua and caught the ferry to Russell. Russell was the first European settlement in NZ and is a beautiful little colonial town, ideally based for exploring Bay of Islands. Campsite has all mod cons and we had a really good terraced site overlooking the Bay towards Paihai.

On Sat 31st we booked ‘The Cream Trip’ - the last Royal Mail boat that travels round numerous small bays and inlets delivering mail and stores to the Islands. Full day trip 9 - 4.00 - what a fantastic day exceeded all expectations - weather very hot (29/30 degrees C) and brilliant sunshine. Visited 10 islands out of the 144 in the Bay. Stopped on Orupukapuka for lunch. it’s a job to put into words how spectacular the Bay of Islands is - probably one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. (Photos don’t do it justice)

Met 2 pods of Dolphins one in the morning and one in the afternoon - not allowed to swim with them as they had calves and NZ Government/Conservationists have very strict rules. Another first for us seeing Dolphins in the wild. On the way back the Basil the captain lowered a ‘Boom Net’ for the young and intrepid to jump into and ‘water ski’ alongside the boat. Had a job to stop Lyn jumping in!! When we got back into Russell there was a crowd on the jetty looking at a 125kg Marlin that had just been caught on a rod.

Today (Sunday 1 Feb) caught the passenger ferry to Paihia and then walked to Waitangi - where the Maori Treaty was signed in 1840. Met by Maoris in traditional costume - Tony did the Haka - then toured the Grounds stopping at the Waka (a 35m war canoe that carried 150 Maoris), then the Treaty House restored to its original state as it was in 1840 and finally the Meeting House (Te Whare Runanga) all set in 506 beautiful hectares that run down to the Bay. Everyone getting ready for Friday 6 Feb which is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty but even so it was very quiet, serene and almost spiritual. Lots of welcome shade under loads of trees on another very hot day.

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