The Bay of Islands, recognized as one of New Zealand’s most popular summer destinations and you can see why with its natural beauty. We had travelled NZ by car previously so it was time to see it on Seismic Wave.
There’s lots of islands with lots of beautiful anchorages, incredible scenery, dolphins in some of the bay’s and nothing is ever far away, so for us it was a great cruising ground. Even managed to find some nice anchorages with no one around.
The weather while here in Feb/ March was cooler than we expected, a little drizzly at times so got some good boat washes and with the odd cyclone remnants pushing through they added to the excitement. YES Cyclones and here we thought we were getting away from all of that! The La Niña weather pattern apparently is a hint that Cyclones are common here in NZ and while we were here had 3 blow through. Who would have known.
All up we were able to get outdoors and enjoy some good weather; kayaking and hiking but alas the colder water here kept us from swimming.
The Department of Conservation has put in lots of walking tracks, which is a fantastic way of getting out for some exercise and seeing the countryside. Most days we would get out and find a track which was typically sheltered from the sun meandering through the bush so you got to see lots of native plants or stunning coastal views. A couple of our favorites were:
Cape Brett Track from Deep Water Cove (2hours 10min one way to the Cape).
This track traverses through the bush (so shade) with stunning vistas all along the way with steep cliffs and rocky bays below.
Urupukapuka Island Walks
An island out near Cape Brett which has various tracks to different bays all of which joins up so you can do a loop to see beautiful vistas of neighboring islands and the stunning coastline.
Paihia to Haruru Falls (1 hour 15 min one way)
An easy track from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to the waterfall follows the Waitangi River so is nice and flat and in the bush with plenty of shade. Haruru means “big noise” and you understand why when you get to the horseshoe shaped falls at the end which are rumbling. Wish we’d kayaked up the river, which some people were doing.
There’s plenty of tourists abound enjoying the area as well. Cruise ships anchor off Russell and provide a spectacular view and help the economy here. An incredible
view one morning of the top of a cruise ship.
Getting food provisions was very easy. Russell and Paihia had decent grocery stores so we could stock up with fresh produce and both towns are easy to wander around and enjoy the views. Eating out is always a treat and we had a few celebrations so did venture out.
– Duke of Marlborough in Russell was a treat and very popular as its on the waterfront and so a really nice location
– Russell Boating Club has an excellent roast on Sunday’s and great entertainment care of the locals. We could have seen Belinda our sailing friend here for sure singing away.
– The Gum Store Bar & Grill in Totara North after a hike along the Wairakau Stream from Lane Cove was a surprise with lots of memrobelia of the earlier era here. The fast water taxi ride back to Lane Cove was a treat.
We had heard about the Twin Coast Cycle Trail from Opua along the old railway and tripped upon it one day when out hiking the trail between Paihia and Opua. Will have to do his next time as its right up our alley.
Before we knew it it was time to head back around Cape Brett and the Famous “Hole in the Rock”, which the tourist boats drive thru, and back down towards Whangarei for our haul out.
Heidi & Bevan our windsurfing friends from Tonga arrived at Whangarei Heads on their sea kayaks to catch up for the long weekend, so was great to see them again.
Has been fun enjoying the northern bays but for us we’ve come a long way and we want to see more of NZ next season so it’s time for a rest from sailing as winter is arriving here. We’ve got a few boat projects planned so time to be hauled.