|Monday 1st March,
Steve has studied map/book last night & chosen route for today so we set off for Russell taking scenic route. Should of been straight forward as there is only one road there & back , or so I thought but its rainy & very cloudy! On the way we call into a wonderful cafe/gallery over looking Helena bay. They have a fabulous landscaped garden to display their sculptures and also a gallery displaying lovely art works. They had a fabulous painting of the bay at sunset just stunning. Also do wonderful coffee & fresh cakes, need I say more! On we go to Russell- it takes ages but did stop raining ! It would appear that we really did take scenic route about 20k out of our way! Anyway worth the trip. Wonderful old historic town with loads of old buildings as it was the first capital of NZ. There are fabulous views of Bay of Islands as you approach along the coast but have decided to take a short cut back & go on the ferry $10 one way!
Find a great spot for lunch overlooking a wonderful bay yet again. Head for a motel in Paihai, as better to get a room sorted earlier rather than later we have decided.
Then head out for Waitangi. This is historic site where the treaty was signed between the english & Maori tribes back in 1840. The site is now a Heritage site & has stunning views over the Bay and the house has been restored along with some huge Maori canoes.
Am learning a lot about all the history and realise how ignorant I am about other countries & our own history. Anyway another great day finished off with a great meal at the Island Life restaurant right on the beach front.
Hope Heather had a good birthday and all family had a great Hostel W/end!
Tues 2nd March
Staying 2 nights in Paihai as really nice location so off to do a loop around the top of the island today. Have decided as its forecast to rain today not doing the drive to top of NZ along the peninsula. Visited Whangaroa first, big marlin fishing port but village is dominated by a rock called St Pauls Rock. As you approach you can see it for miles as its a hill with a large lump of rock on the top! Plan was to climb it, the challenge being that the last 20ft you have to use a chain to pull yourself up with!!! and scramble anoth 10ft on all fours- very elegant! Does my bum look big in this !!! Anyway I made it , Steve has photographic evidence. Next port of call was Mangonui, here we did another Heritage walk around the village linking historic buildings and a couple of wonderfully restored Edwardian villas. Final stop of day was the start of "90 mile beach" Well we obviously have a problem with beaches of this magnitude as the last time we were anywhere near one(in Australia) it was pouring with rain & the same was true today so we couldn't see 90 feet let alone miles. So we had lunch, as all Brits do, sitting in the car looking out to sea in the rain. (note from Steve, This beach is a swiz. It's only a piddling little 64 miles long in reality). Decided as rain looked set in to head back but somehow magically managed to get last again & added a good 1/2 hr to the journey. Steve bless him, never gets cross or annoyed and just says its all part of the adventure. Rounded day off with delicious Pizza & salad from the restaurant next door to motel.