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Bay of Islands and Waitangi wash out

On Tuesday 4th February I took the Intercity bus from Auckland to Pahia in the Bay of Islands. There are several other bus companies operating around New Zealand including the Naked Bus (I don't think you have to be naked to ride on it) and the Kiwi Experience but I opted for a Flexi-Pass with Intercity because their buses are frequent, their customer service is excellent and it only cost me NZ$313 for a 10 trip pass. This will take me to all the places, both North and South Islands, that I want to visit.
I stayed in a hostel, 'The Pickled Parrot', run by the owner Rose and would certainly recommend it. I arrived mid afternoon and took a walk around the town, which is very small and very touristy, 6831ED752219AC68178AC6218F593DAD.jpg and around the bay to Waitangi. I also took the ferry to Russell (NZ$12 return) which used to be called 'the hell hole of the pacific' due to the pirates and prostitutes that inhabited it. Now it is very pretty with some quite historic building and up market houses. 683578E52219AC68175D8BFA31AF4D1E.jpg683427542219AC681794E4A1CA040990.jpg6836B2562219AC6817A8A7767820718F.jpg6837C1BD2219AC6817DF8CBFA93B25F8.jpg
I paid NZ$95, including morning snack and lunch, for a day sail around the bay with Michael Carera on Gungha II on Wednesday. There were about fifteen people in the group and we all got on pretty well. Michael took us to a small bay where we had an unexpected and absolutely wonderful dolphin encounter. There were four dolphins, three adults (much bigger than I had realised) and a young one and they spent ages swimming under and around the boat and leaping into the air with each other. There was an opportunity for swimming and kayaking whilst lunch was prepared and most of us also walked up the hill behind the beach to get a better view. 6839CB752219AC681749B8B4F2CCAA3B.jpg68A437A32219AC6817DA2A7777A32609.jpg Unfortunately the day was overcast and there was no wind so we were not really able to sail but at least it stayed dry until we arrived back in Paihia. Then it started to pour with rain and did not stop for the next two days! It reminded me of home.
Thursday was Waitangi Day, a public holiay in New Zealand, and it celebrates the signing of The Waitangi Treaty, between the various Maori tribes and the British government on that day in 1840. The Royal New Zealand Navy has a presence, their band play and a gun salute is fired from a RNZN ship offshore. 68A324DC2219AC6817FB430C50578992.jpg68A544A12219AC68178975519663FFBF.jpgThere is also Maori music and dancing and plenty of stalls selling food, gifts and clothing. Unfortunately the bad weather prevented many of the planned outdoor activities from taking place and a protest against oil drilling led to the doors on the wharenui being locked to stop the protesters getting in. That, of course, also stopped anyone already inside from getting out for a while. 68A62D6C2219AC6817A4FAC0A5B10F1B.jpg68A751922219AC681745ACCF92DF407A.jpg We spent the rest of the day in the hostel where I ended up giving English lessons to two young Italians and a Spanish lady. Great fun and much laughter, perhaps I have missed my vocation.?
Friday is a return to Auckland to spend a couple of nights with old friends and then on to Rotorua.

Posted by busyboots 20:04

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