Our second day in the Bay of Islands was a day trip to the tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga. This was included in the Kiwi Experience ticket we’d bought, even though we didn’t realise at the time. Although it was a lot of driving I had a really good day. Our bus driver and guide was a Maori and told us some interesting stories about the land, the Maori people, and how New Zealand as we know it was discovered. We drove up through the beautiful rural scenery of the island to the most northerly point of the island, Cape Reinga.
It was a beautifully sunny day so the walk down to the headland was perfect. Here are some snaps of the headland – it was amazing to see two seas meet:
On the way back we drove along 90 mile beach which was pretty cool, and reminded me of Fraser Island in Straya. We also stopped off in the sand dunes and the group did some sandboarding – basically skidding down the dunes on bodyboards. I’d taken my travel sickness tablets so by this point the drowsiness had really set in, so I sat this one out and watched everyone slide down the dunes.
After everyone had worn themselves out, we tried to get as much sand off as possible before getting back on the bus. On the way back down to Piahia, we stopped off at a fish and chip place on the waterfront for proper NZ ‘fush and chups’, which I have to say were delicious! We were persuaded to share one portion between the three of us and I’m glad we did. After feeding our faces, we then all hopped back on the coach for the remaining drive to our accommodation.
That evening after dinner we headed to the bar for a pub quiz. We joined forces with a couple of other people to make a team, including the girl Emily we met on our first bus ride, as well as another girl who loved karaoke. Unfortunately our team didn’t win the bar tab prize but a quiz is always great fun.
The next morning was a relaxed one as we went to explore the town. We pottered around the shops and I bought a postcard to send to home. For lunch we bought pies from a cute veggie cafe to take away and ate them on the seafront in the sunshine whilst I wrote my postcard. We also did a bit of travel admin and planned out the rest of our Kiwi buses. We weighed up whether we should spend the money on a dolphin cruise and went to the two travel companies in Piahia to weigh up prices. In the end we decided to go for it and book a boat trip called ‘The hole in the rock tour’ (which would hopefully encounter some dolphins too) for the next morning before our bus back to Auckland. Pleased with our decision, we then bought food for dinner from the supermarket and headed back along the beachfront to the hostel as the sun was setting.
That evening we watched the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach and as their wasn’t anything planned in the hostel for that evening, one of the workers Connor asked us all if we wanted to do something, so we played his namesake game ‘Connorball’ in the bar. It was basically like boules with different weighted pucks, and turned out to be a very dramatic game. This was when we met the lovely Jade, James, Beth and Demi, who we hit it off with and ended travelling most of New Zealand with, along with another two friends, both called Harry. That was one thing brilliant about the Kiwi Experience, you kept bumping into the same people along the way, depending on everyone’s schedules.
Our final day in the Bay of Islands was certainly a good’un. We were up bright and early, checking out of our hostel, storing our rucksacks in luggage storage room and heading into the town for our boat tour. We boarded the boat and sailed off out of the harbour. It was another beautiful day in the North Island so the sea wasn’t very rough. We were so luck to see a pod of dolphins! This included two babies, one of which was called French Toast – they were born on a day where the All Blacks beat France at rubgy! It was amazing to see such playful creatures, one even showing off as they jumped right out of the water nearby!
We sailed past some islands whilst the captain told us all about their history, and showed us the spot that Captain Cook first moored up on the North Island and how he met the Maori’s for the first time. We eventually stopped off at a pretty bay and got off the boat. The captain also told the best place for a great view on the island so we walked up to the top of the hill; he was right as we had 360 degree views of the bright green grass and surrounding deep blue sea: bliss. I didn’t want to leave but we’d been given a strict amount of time before the boat would leave – I wasn’t being left stranded on an island!
When we finally got back on dry land we headed back to the hostel, had time for a quick lunch before the bus journey back to the capital. The journey seemed quicker this time, probably because I napped more… We stayed at Base again in Auckland, where we bought the ingredients for dinner and made a cracking spag bol and had an early night.
Watch this space for more action packed NZ adventures xoxo