Sea Kayaking, Fishing and Waterfalls in Paihia – Bay of Islands, New Zealand
The last day in the Bay of Islands, Northland region was one of our favourites out of the four days we were there – the three days before consisted of visiting the oldest stone building in all of New Zealand, swimming in waterfalls,cruising around the islands and enjoying the gorgeous beaches up North!
Our last day here was spent mostly in Paihia, a very cute and bustling sea side town which is also rich in history and culture, being right next to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – New Zealand’s most important historic site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and the indigenous Maori. Besides the historical interests, there are some nice beaches to swim and kayak in, great for fishing activities, lots of restaurants, shops and accommodation of all types – backpackers lodge, seaside resorts and quaint cottages. This is where the harbour is located for all the island and dolphin cruises departure. Bit tourisy but a very relaxing atmosphere as well as you walk around the town.
We separated into two groups – the boys went sea fishing – first time for both of them – with Blue Sea Charter. The girls went sea kayaking, again first time kayaking alone at sea. The last time we went in a big group in Morro Bay and kayaked with seals! The day was absolutely gorgeous, all sun and blue skies. Shama and I went for a quick swim and then went kayaking around two of the islands. We enjoyed exploring the waters far better this way than we did in a big boat with lots of other tourists the day before. The views were not as gorgeous but the experience was far more enriching. We met up with the boys after their 4 hour fishing excursion and exchanged stories. They saw dolphins, sad I missed out on that experience 🙁 Shahaar caught a fish(I cannot remember what it is right now) but we had it for dinner that same night and it was delicious!
We also visited Haruru waterfalls – about 3km from Paihia. The falls are shaped like a horseshoe bend and Haruru means ‘big noise’. We heard that it is quite rare and spectacular to see, we also read that there is an excellent walking trail between the Falls and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, some of the parts which you walk through a boardwalk over mangroves. Unfortunately we didn’t get to do the walk this time and due to the dry season, the waterfall was not as gushing and powerful as it is after the rains. In fact, there was waterfall on only part of the horseshoe bend when got there. It was lovely nonetheless, there were kayakers about and people swimming and enjoying the calmer part of the river. Due to shortage of time, we just walked around this time instead of swimming in it as we did with Rainbow Falls two days ago.
In the afternoon we drove half hour up north to Tauranga Bay. Once again like Matauri Bay the first day here, we found both places a world apart from other beaches in the more touristy Bay of Island area and so much nicer! There was absolutely nothing around, no development, very few people, just the turquoise water beach and golden sands. In Tauranga, the sea was rougher and it was really windy. We swam in the warm waters, played cricket on the beach and watched the sunset. It was a perfect ending to the day.
We couldn’t leave the region without visiting one of the wineries, so next day on our way back to Auckland, we went to Marsden Estate – Winery and Restaurant and had the best meal here of the whole trip. The food was divine, views were lovely and yes we went wine tasting at 11am 🙂
On our drive back to Auckland, we stumbled across this gorgeous stopover in Waipu for some coffee and immediately knew this is where we will be staying on our next trip here in a camper van. Stunning views, great campsite and the best ice-cream and frozen yogurt ever!!
Thus ended our first trip out of Auckland to the Bay of Islands, the start of our travels for one year in New Zealand!
From our time travelling here the past four days, we realize (we already knew this though) – that we are just not into group tours, but we loved visiting all the islands and there is just so much sea activities to do around here. The ideal solution would be to get our own boat. But we needed to know how to sail a boat first, plus we have no place to store it…we got a bit overly excited after our four days in the Bay of Islands and the next few days swimming in the sea at St Heliers….so we have bought ourselves a kayak! Now to read the Manual on sea kayaking and get out to sea before winter sets in 🙂
We are back in this region, this time in Whangeri two weeks from now. I am very much looking forward as my sister and her family are visiting from North America and will be joining us here. Also I am doing my refresher course in Scuba Diving whilst here and couldn’t have asked for a better country to start diving again after 15 years 😀