The Bay of Islands

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kia Ora! Before I comment on my time spent in Paihia and Cape Reinga I have another difference to point out.  No shoes, no shirt no service does not apply here. I see multiple people who walk around the grocery store barefoot. Weird. Anyway, Paihia was amazing! On my first day, I was able to borrow a bike from the hostel and went to Waitangi where the view was amazing. Then I biked to the trail head of Haruru Falls. It was a 10k hike which was fine, but I wasn’t expecting that, so I became rushed at the end to make it to the grocery store and back to my room before sundown. Nonetheless, the hike was worth it. There is a bridge you take which takes you over a bay, but then you reach a shallow part where there are trees. The trees have water up almost a foot on their trunk. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The best part was the tide was high on my way to the falls, and when I came back the tide was low. So the trees were no longer in water but surrounded by mud. It was amazing and eerie all at the same time. Most of the wildlife you see in New Zealand are birds. And the birds are huge and make the most unique sounds. My second day I wanted to plan out the next few days of my journey. There wasn’t much accommodation available in Auckland for that Friday (it was Thursday) so I decided to spend another night in Paihia and go back to Auckland on Saturday. Since I was going to have an extra day, I booked the tour to Cape Reinga. After some logistics, I took the ferry to Russell where I hiked to a few viewpoints, walked around the little town and had some ice cream. Russell reminded me of Trinidad. Back in Paihia, we started to hear fireworks going off. A fellow traveler said she had heard there was a celebration going on and there would be fireworks and campfires all along the beach. We decided to investigate. Turns out, the 5th of November is in celebration of Guy Fawkes. The man who tried to blow up the British Parliament but failed.  It took me a while, but I eventually put two and two together and made the connection to V for Vendetta. Remember remember the 5th of November. My third day in Paihia started out early. I was on my way to Cape Reinga which is the most Northern point of New Zealand. After a brief bush walk through a forest, we went to Ninety Mile Beach. It is a straight beach for 55 kilometers and you can drive on it. Our driver was fantastic and he would spin doughnuts on the beach in the bus. So much fun! We then drove up a stream to a large Sand Dune. Here we hiked to the top of the Sand Dune with boogie boards and rode down it. It was fantastic. I was intimidated at first but quickly fell in love. However, the hike was a pain so I only went down twice. We finally made our way to Cape Reinga. The view was  breathtaking. On one side you have the Pacific Ocean; the other the Tasman Sea, and they collide at the point. I’ve never seen anything like it. Most of the activities took place in the morning. So after exploring around the cape we made our way to a small beach for some lunch and then headed home. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but the tour was worth it. My final day in Paihia probably had the best weather. I went on one last small hike to a look out and then decided to go kayaking. My arms could handle no more, so I laid out on the beach and awaited my bus back to Auckland. I was planning to stay only one night there, for the following morning I would catch the bus to Hobbiton and then Rotorua.

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