Bay Of Islands
Just before Christmas, I took booked a bus trip from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. This is about four hours by bus further north. The route there meandered through the most beautiful country side. Unfortunately, it was raining really hard and we did not have any opportunities to take pictures.
I did manage to snap one of the road side restaurant where we stopped, both on the way north and the return journey for a quick meal.
Going north, the bus was not very full. Our driver, a guy called Pete gave running commentary for most of the way. It was very interesting. We even drove through the village where he grew up and he actually drove the bus past his Auntie's home, hooted and waved at her! He was some character.
We arrived in Paihia, which is situated on the bay, at about noon. We all went to the Waitangi Treaty grounds first. This is where the Maori and British signed the (in-)famous treaty, declaring New Zealand souvereign and protected by Great Britain. The gardens here were absolutely beautiful.
After the treaty grounds, we were taken back to Paihia, where everyone did their own thing. I took a ferry over to Russel, which is a short trip acros the bay to a peninsula. This is the original town in New Zealand and was quite notorious in the early years, becoming known throughout the world as the "Hell Hole" of the Pacific. Today it is a beautiful, quiet little place. I did a mini tour of the town and its immediate surrounds.
The enterence to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Some lovely red roses outside the original governer's house.
The Maori Meeting House. This one is not associated with any specific tribe since they all contributed to its construction for the signing of the treaty. Inside there is some intricate wood carving to be seen.
I never grew tired of the beautiful trees that are everywhere in New Zealand.
How about these lush gardens!
They built a mother of a canoe for the occasion.
Back in Paihia and one can go for a ride through the Hole in the Rock with this boat. I did not do it, but did go out to the Hole in the Rock with a normal ferry.
The Ferry Building in Paihia.
Approaching Russel by ferry. The following pictures are all of Russel. As I said, I went on this little tour and had the opportunity to shoot a few pictures from the hills behind the town.
Those trees are everywhere and one is more lovely than the next! Just look at this beauty!
I stayed over for the night and this is the view from ourside my bedroom.
The shopping area of Paihia.
The last afternoon I could not face another guided tour, so I skipped the one I was booked to do and sat outside at this lovely restaurant (the sun was shining for a change), reading my book and testing the beer of the area!
The next set of pictures are of the various islands in the bay. On the second day, I went out with a ferry. We stopped at some of the islands and had the chance to wonder about a bit. Then we took to the open ocean for a trip to the Hole in the Rock. Just about everyone on the boat was sick. I just stood at the stern, looking out over the water and hoping, that I do not get ill as well. Fortunately, I did not! I felt very sorry for the crew, who had the work cut out to tend to all the sick people.
This strange boat is a floating backpackers!
This is Cape Brett with its very remote light house out on the rocks. It is right next to the Hole in the Rock.
Heading back again and some more islands. We stopped at an island where Captain James Cook once stood. I climbed up to where he supposedly stood and managed to get some cool pictures of the bay and the islands.
Down where you see the ferry at the quay is a restaurant / cafe named after the author Zane Gray. He made the place famous as a game fishing destination. Being there made me think of my Dad, since he was an avid reader of Zane's books.