October 28, 2011

Wandering around: Bay of Islands overnight cruise

In September I came across another coupon that I couldn't pass up, an overnight cruise to the Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands is at the top of the North Island, and offers a lot of history about New Zealand. It was one of the first areas where settlers arrived, and it's near Waitangi where the treaty was signed. We decided to grab the coupon and pick a date and go. Lucky for us, we brought Wellington rain with us and enjoyed a very wet and chilly weekend on a boat. We're planning a return trip because we were rained out of a lot of activities and still want to explore the area, especially visit Waitangi.

We flew up to Auckland, spent the night in the city, shopped, dined, and enjoyed the rainy views. It was packed for Rugby World Cup, and called it an early night since we had a 7am pick-up (which we missed, because the front entrance of the hotel was not the pick-up destination! Wouldn't be any fun if everything went to plan!) Thankfully we were only blocks away from the bus hub where our tour bus departed from, so we cabbed it over. Even if we had a cranky cab driver who didn't want to drive us the few blocks. He seemed to not understand the fact that we were running late and didn't have time to walk with our luggage, or stroll the streets of a new city while trying to make our bus. Alas, we made it and boarded.

We enjoyed a four hour bus drive in the country from Auckland to Pahia.

(Kev slept and I posed him for our 3 hour pic, heh, sneaky sneaky!)

We passed lots of farm land, and beautiful trees, but my favourite sighting was the pink sheep! No pic, passed by too quickly, but a sheep farmer washes the sheep with red dye in the mornings, and his land is covered in pink sheep!

We arrived in Pahia and took another short bus to the dock in Opua, and boarded our four level cruise. Luckily the cruise was only half full, considering it was a coupon deal, you know how things can get out of control! We had 30 people on our overnight cruise and lots of room to sit about and enjoy the (grey) views.

A total touristy but very cool overnight cruise, must do this again and hope the weather is better. And most def need to bring along some friends next time!! (Great sights, Ipipiri overnight cruise from Opua)
Our Great Sights overnight cruise

All rooms have a view! Comfy beds, a shower with hot water - which came in handy with the chilly temps. Totally recommend this cruise! We had half tourists and half locals, it's really enjoyable for both groups, so much to see and a relaxing way to take a mini-vacation.

Pirate ship? Pirate ship.
It was rainy so not a lot of boats out on the water, except this pirate ship one.

Motuarohi Island, Bay of Islands. As far as we could tell, there was one home on this island.

We anchored for a few hours at Mouarohi Islands. Our captain shared lots of history tidbits about this island... it's where Captain Cook first arrived, he also gave the name to the 144 islands, Bay of Islands. We explored the land, which was small but beautiful and housed one home (that we know of).

Motuarohi Island (Bay of Islands where Captain Cook settled when he arrived)

Then we left the island by motorboat, but you could also kayak over if you wanted to brave the winds. I was chicken, but next time I will!

Finally found a favourite New Zealand pinot noir!

We enjoyed a night of wine, dinner, board games, and playing the juke box. Conversations with lovely people, and also went to bed by 10pm. Another early night for us, we were tired but happy. The next day we didn't have any plans, as we thought we'd wander around... but it was even colder and rainier. We had a direct flight from a nearby small airport at 7pm that evening, so we lunched around and had coffee at every shop in Russell and Pahia, and then at the airport learned our small itty bitty plane was cancelled. So they bussed us back to Auckland to fly us out the following morning... at this point we were just tired from a long day wandering around in the rain. We had a lovely time and eventually made it home, though we have a sneaky suspicion that Wellington likes to keep us from home. Every flight we've had home from our getaways has been cancelled or landed elsewhere due to weather. We'll keep trying, because we're stubborn like that, and very much looking forward to our next getaway... coming up soon!


  1. Oooh, fun! We had a great time in Paihia, but it was a bit gray and rainy for us, too. We visited lots of local shops there - Chris particularly liked the "Get Fudged!" store and I think we stopped there 3 times during our week-long stay :-) Stinks about your flights, but at least you made it back eventually!

  2. Oh wow! This sounds like the most perfect adventure for us the next time we're in NZ! Sucks about the flights, we're having the same trouble here with Quantas :(


So glad you wandered by!