Bay of Islands

A little background:

The Bay of Islands is an enclave located on the North East coast of the north island of New Zealand (that’s a mouthful). This enclave encompasses more than 140 subtropical islands. This area is know for its warm climate, beautiful undeveloped beaches, fishing, and diving.

We stayed in a beautiful bach (short from Bachelor Pad aka holiday home) in the little town of Russel. Once known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” and the first capital of New Zealand, Russel is now a beautiful small town with a population of about 800 residents. We loved the character of the town and the locals were very sweet.

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The view from our bach (Kanuka Loft)

Our adventures:

We had a little bit of a black cloud following us on this day. We arrived to the bach early Friday. The weather was hot and humid with pouring rain. We drove into town, picked up some Thai food, and head back to take shelter from the rain. There was not much to do, so we resorted to a good old fashion game of scrabble, and we had a blast!

The next day we had much better luck. With the weather on our side (only a little gloomy), we booked a sail around the islands. After much research, we found Dave and “She’s a Lady.” Dave was an excellent skipper, very informative, and a great guy. We made some wonderful friends, one of them being Captain Lexi. All the girls onboard commandeered the boat and were very keen on sailing. We docked at Stingray Bay. Here we were able to do some kayaking, hiking, and swimming.

This day there was a sailboat race. We did not participate in the race, but we did participate in the afterparty. After we came back from the sail, we head home to shower and to the local Yacht club for the celebration. After they declared the winners, it was dinner time. Dinner was a traditional Hāngi. A Hāngi is a traditional Maori meal which is cooked in the ground.

Multiple times we had heard that the Bay of Islands is THE place to go diving. Obviously that put it on the top of our “To Do” list. I wish we had more footage from our dive, but to be honest, I was a little nervous. I did not have the multitasking skills to focus on learning to breathe underwater while focusing on recording. Sorry guys, you will just have to take my word for it.

The dive was i n c r e d i b l e. We did a P.A.D.I dive, which is the worlds largest recreational diving membership. The courses range from minimal entry level to advanced. We did the discover scuba diving under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. This allows you to dive a maximum of 12 meters with an instructor. For our first time diving, this was plenty deep.

I was slightly nervous until we actually went underwater. An extreme calm immediately took over. Being surrounded by the surreal quiet, the reflection of the suns rays, and the multitude of friendly fish. We got to the ocean floor, knelt down, and the fish swarmed us from left and right. The fish were so friendly that they would let us pet them. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to pet fish! Should I repeat my self, I pet a fish, like you would pet a dog. How cool?! We were also able to break open sea urchins and feed the fish. We loved this experience.

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We had the most amazing trip with Mr. Don & Mrs. Denise and we wouldn’t have done anything differently!

Recommendations:

  • Bay of Islands is a MUST DO!
  • Sailing: Defiantly recommend “She’s a Lady” with Dave. Call him!
  • Go diving. You will regret it if you don’t. We went with Paihia Dive, two thumbs up for them.
  • Russel vs. Paihia? We liked Russel. Paihia was cool too but in our opinion Russel had more character.
  • Don’t be afraid of a Hāngi. Its a really cool way to experience the Maori culture.

 

Extra pictures:

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